Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Don't Forget the Wine on Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday  (or will it be Monday this year???) is a day more associated with beer koozies that wine glasses, but for your Super Bowl get together this year - give wine a chance!!!  You don't have to worry about breaking out your best stemware for the party - regular glasses or (gasp) plastic cups are fine, and may entice more of the beer drinking crowd to try something new.

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Here are a few ideas for refreshments to serve on game day:

Spanish Cava.   Cava is a great all around sparkling wine for beer drinkers. There may be too much testosterone in the air for Super Bowl fans to embrace Champagne or sparkling wine, but don't worry about serving the Cava up in flutes, just pour some in a glass and see their eyes light up!  Cava is made with the same classic method as Champagne, but without the hefty price tag that goes along with Champagne.

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Wine with Burgers. Firing up the grill? Beer and burgers is a classic match - but for something different serve up a Malbec - a versatile red to serve that may help you convert beer drinkers and white wine drinkers to the wonderful world of red wine.  
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Plus with great bottles of Malbec available in the $10 - $15 range, you'll still have plenty of cash to bet on the opening coin toss (c'mon tails!) or whatever you like!  Malbec's versatility means that toppings like blue cheese, fried eggs, french fries, Sriracha, etc won't impact the great pairing.

Wine with Pizza. Your best bets with tomato sauced based pizza is to stick to Italian wine.  Chianti is a good option, but to try something new - go with a Barbera. You may never drink any other wine with pizza!
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For pizza's without tomato sauces (e.g. white pizza's) a Gavi is a great Italian white wine option. Gavi is a dry crisp wine, more interesting to me than the standby Pinot Grigio. Also a   Cava would pair very nicely.

Wine with Buffalo Wings. The best pairing here is an off dry riesling (not a sweet wine, but one that does have a touch of sweetness), or if you don't think white wine will go over with your crowd, try a fruity, lower alcohol Red Zinfandel.  
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Remember - with hotter dishes putting some extra chill on the beverage can help - it's probably mostly psychological, but it does seems to make a difference.  Alcohol levels that are too high can magnify the spiciness of a dish - so stay away from those super high alcohol Zins for spicy wings.

Wine with BBQ Ribs. If your Super Bowl crowd likes to get messy - you may oblige with a mess o' BBQ ribs (OK it's official I am getting very hungry!).  To pair with BBQ sauce that tends to have a good amount of sweetness, stick with a fruity red like Zinfandel or Syrah.  Syrah is also an excellent match for smoked ribs - as Syrah does tend to have a bit of a smokey characteristic.  
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Wine with Hot Dogs.  Rosé would be a great match for the myriad of flavors that can make their way into a bite of a hot dog.  If your crowd may struggle with quaffing a pink wine,  go with an off dry riesling, especially if there will be any of those wonderful sport peppers used in a Chicago style hot dog (don't forget the neon green relish!). 
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Wine with Chili.  Stick with a food friendly red - Malbec, a Tempranillo like a Spanish Rioja, an Italian Dolcetto, a fruity Syrah or Red Zinfandel.  You need something that will strike a good balance - a nice bit of acidity, with some tannins to stand up to a hearty dish, but not too big and tannic as to overpower the flavor of your great chili.
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Wine with Nachos. One of my favorite game day spreads is a do-it-yourself nacho bar - chips, beef, chicken, jalapeños, onions, green chills, beans, olives, lots of cheese, and lots of guacamole and crema mexicana.   To pair with this myriad of flavors - stick with a Cava for a white wine option and Malbec for a red wine option.
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Prefer beer with any or all of these party dishes?  Absolutely nothing wrong with that - but consider giving your guests a choice of beverages and you may be surprised how many converts to the grape juice you may have!  Don't stress out too much about finding the best pairing or if someone is drinking a red with a dish you had planned to serve with a white - just enjoy the time with family and friends, and don't forget the great commercials!!! (However, if they aren't swirling their wine properly, consider rescinding their invitation for next year!).

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