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What wine to drink when you're cooking with sherry [Chicago Tribune :: BC-WBS-SHERRY-CHICKEN-PAIRINGS:TB]

When you're cooking with sherry, what wine do you pair with the finished dish? The key lies in the acidity. Because sherry is highly acidic, you need a lower-acid wine for balance. For dinner tonight, make this simple chicken that's finished off in a reduction of sherry and chicken broth, and pair it with any of the wines below or a bottle of a similar style.

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MAKE THIS

CHICKEN WITH ONIONS, OLIVES AND CAPERS

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; add 2 cloves garlic, minced, and 1 slice bacon, chopped. Cook, stirring, until garlic turns golden, about 2 minutes. Add 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves; season with salt. Cook until browned, 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a platter. Add 1 onion, thinly sliced, to the skillet; cook until onion wilts, about 4 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup dry sherry and 1/4 cup chicken broth. Reduce until sauce has thickened, 10 minutes. Return chicken to skillet. Add 1/2 cup chopped green olives and 1 tablespoon capers; simmer until chicken is cooked through. Makes: 4 servings

DRINK THIS

Pairings by sommelier Nate Redner of Oyster Bah, as told to Michael Austin:

2013 G.D. Vajra Kye Langhe Freisa, Piedmont, Italy: The freisa grape variety has a range of expressions from bone-dry to very sweet. This dry one offers notes of thyme and oregano, which will help intensify the savory character of the sherry/chicken stock combination. The wine's dark berry and fig notes will nicely match the smoky bacon, as well as the briny capers and green olives. The wine's zippy acidity will balance the dish's richness.

2015 Mahi Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand: A less tropical and ripe expression of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, this wine is full of lemon and grapefruit zest with subtle notes of tarragon and fennel. Its rich and creamy mouthfeel, along with citrusy acidity, will help prevent the dish from being overly salty. There is also enough fruit character in the wine to keep the pairing from being overly acidic, as sherry has a lot of acidity.

1995 Caves San Joao Poco do Lobo Arinto, Bairrada, Portugal: The 1995 vintage is actually the current release of Poco do Lobo. Arinto, especially in a single varietal wine, is a grape that needs time to tame its acidity. Twenty years of bottle age has turned this into a lovely, nutty rounded wine that will mimic the character of the dry sherry and amp up the salinity of the capers.

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