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Spicy Chicken & Cabernet

Cabernet Franc—"the other Cabernet"—deserves to be better known, especially because it goes so well with dishes like barbecued chicken.

Perfect Wine Match

The wonderful sauce for this chicken mingles mildly sweet-and-sour with spicy flavors, all of which call for a red wine with some assertiveness of its own. I'd recommend a Cabernet Franc, which is fruitier, juicier and less tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon—as well as more flexible with food. (Cab Franc's hint of herbiness also works well with the tomato in the sauce.) Try the medium-bodied 1998 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses ($17) from France's Loire Valley, which has all of the classic Cab Franc attributes, plus a palate-refreshing acidity. Alternatively, the 2001 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc ($24) from Napa is a rich wine, with lively red-fruit flavors.

—Richard Nalley

Published June 2003
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