The Best Drink Pairing To Complement Creamy Chicken Marsala

Given that the ingredients for rich, creamy Marsala sauce include a wine — Marsala, a brandy-fortified wine traditionally made in Sicily — it's tempting to think this would also be the perfect pairing partner. However, that's not actually the case, although wine is indeed a delicious drink pairing option for this classic Italian dish, which includes not only mushrooms, but also heavy cream. The rich creaminess and intense flavor provided by these two ingredients are best complemented by very specific types of wine, whether red or white, that can cut through the heavy elements of the dish while still allowing its full flavor profile to shine.

When pairing red wines with chicken Marsala, lighter, fruity, and less tannic options are preferred, with pinot noir and malbec among the best grape varieties to try. With white wines, by contrast, fuller-bodied wines made from chardonnay or riesling grapes are more complementary, enhancing the flavors of the sauce optimally.

Why certain wine pairings work so well with chicken Marsala

These preferred red and white wine pairing choices are excellent because they're the best of both worlds: light enough to prevent the creaminess of the chicken Marsala sauce from overwhelming your palate, while also being perfectly suited to enhance the sauce's rich flavors.

Of course, it should be noted that these wines pair well with a classic Italian dish like chicken Marsala for slightly different reasons. With chardonnay or riesling, it's the acidity that elevates the creamy mushroom sauce. With reds like pinot noir or malbec, meanwhile, the fruitiness of the wine complements the sauce's intense richness.

All four of the aforementioned wine types complement chicken Marsala sauce, but chardonnay, perhaps more than the others, is best paired with chicken, too. That's because the acidity in chardonnay, in addition to elevating the sauce, also helps to highlight the flavors in grilled chicken.