Food & Wine Pairing – Australian Chardonnay with Chicken Parmigiana

By Zahra Jhanjharya

A glass of Chardonnay and a plate of crumbed chicken breasts, smothered in rich tomato sauce along with melted cheese. What is not to like in such a pair? 

Originated in France’s Burgundy region, chardonnay is one of the world’s most planted varieties of white grape. It was brought in Australia in 1832 by James Busby. Amongst all the white varietals, chardonnay is the most popular and classic wine in Australia. There are two primary styles of chardonnay, one is the rich classic, buttery, oak-influenced style, and the one that is lean, citrusy, and fresh. In Australia both these styles have found middle grounds and offer the best of both worlds. 

Stolen from the Italians and a classic fixture on every Aussie pub and club menu, chicken parmi has it all! Pair its deliciously crispy coating, rich homemade tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese along with a glass of chardonnay.  

A young, unoaked, cool-climate chardonnay is a very good match with an Aussie chicken parmigiana. When pairing chardonnay with cheese and chicken, the oak and fruit flavours in the wine increase and results in an ultimate match.  You can match it with our SmallWater Estate Unwooded – Chardonnay. This is a delightful Chardonnay with bright aromas of peach, nectarine, and sweet vanillin notes. Fresh citrus flower and a lemon tart acidity linger on the finish 


Recipe for an easy yet delicious chicken parmigiana. 



  • 2 chicken breasts 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 2 Tbsp plain flour 
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 
  • 75g fresh breadcrumbs 
  • 25g Parmesan, grated 
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil 
  • sea salt and black pepper 


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced 
  • 500ml tomato passata 
  • 125ml white wine 
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • small bunch fresh basil, leaves torn 
  • 125g fresh mozzarella, drained and torn 
  • 50g Parmesan, grated 
  • black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Halve the chicken breasts horizontally so you have 4 evenly thick pieces. Season well with salt, pepper and oregano, pressing them onto the chicken. 
  2. Spread the flour over a plate, pour the egg into a shallow bowl, whisk together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and spread over a second plate. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, toss the chicken in the flour, dip in the beaten egg, then press in the breadcrumb mixture so that both sides are well coated. Repeat with all remaining pieces. 
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken for 2 minutes on each side, then remove to a rack. 
  4. To make the sauce, heat the oil in the same frying pan that you used for the chicken. Cook the garlic for 1 minute until just fragrant. Pour in the passata and white wine, then stir through the oregano, salt and sugar. Season well with black pepper, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in half of the basil. 
  5. To assemble the dish, spread 4 tablespoons of the sauce over the base of a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Place the chicken on top, pour over the remaining tomato sauce, leaving some crumbed edges visible and top each breast with mozzarella and Parmesan. Drizzle over a little more olive oil, then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. 
  6. Divide the chicken between 4 warmed plates, sprinkle over the remaining basil leaves and serve immediately with a crisp green salad.