So what do you do when you show up to a Super Bowl party and need to pair typical football food fare with wine? Is there anything that pairs perfectly with nachos and chicken wings? Well … Not exactly perfectly, but there are wines that will pair better than others.
So join us as we look at pairing our favorite wines with some of the typical food found during a Super Bowl party. Use this as a guide to game plan for a party, and you’ll be promised to be this Sunday’s Super Bowl MVP … Most Valuable Purveyor!
Wine and Football Quick Notes
- Wine and football don’t seem to go together as traditionally as beer and nachos, or baseball and apple pie (although, I’ve never seen anyone eat apple pie at a baseball game, either…), but there’s no rule that says sports fans can’t appreciate a nice glass of wine during their game, either! Don’t let social mores tell you differently.
- There’s not a written document declaring that football parties, tailgates, or this Super Bowl Sunday have to involve low-fare food items. Flatbread pizzas can be made in brick ovens with exquisite olive oils, falafel balls can be baked as a unique appetizer, and even fancy hor d’oeuvre spreads can propagate the food stations. If you fancy drinking wine at your Super Bowl party, plan for well paired food before hand and everything will be fine.
- But you may not be throwing a party. No problem. You can still find a wine that will pair with some typical, major Super Bowl foods, or – better yet! – plan on bringing an item you think will pair best with your favorite wine. Then just be sure to eat it before others clear it out!
- As with any food pairings, remember our basic food pairing tips we’ve provided throughout this blog: fattier meats go well with wines that have more tannins, try to match flavor intensities, no acidic wines and cream sauces, you’re best off pairing a wine with a main focus than every side dish, etc. Follow these tips and you’ll do well.
Suggested Super Bowl Foods and Wine Pairings
We’ve highlighted five of the typical food items you’ll find at any Super Bowl party across the country. Browse through and find your food dish and note the accompanying wines with them. These are some general suggestions, but if you have others, please leave them in the comments!
Did you know Super Bowl Sunday is one of the five biggest pizza purchasing days of the year? Papa John’s, the “official pizza provider” of the Super Bowl, expects to sell over a million pizzas on Sunday. With those numbers in mind, there’s a chance that some type of pizza (purchased or homemade) will show up at your party. But don’t fear! When pairing a wine with something like pizza, keep in mind our basic tips. Ask yourself what the main flavor of the pizza will be. Margarita pizza, heavy on tomato sauce? Try a Sangiovese from Bray Vineyards. Working with spicier Italian sausage ingredients? Choose a wine that compliments the spice, like a Tempranillo from Idle Hour Winery. With a broad variety of flavors available on a pizza it will be hard to get a perfect match, but focus on your predominant food items and pair accordingly. Honestly, who was the first person that ever decided to put pineapple on a pizza? Ken’s law of fruit…don’t fruit the beer and don’t fruit the Pizza.
Your traditional tailgating and football party go-to items call for brats and beer. But who needs that when you can instead do wine and swine? There are lots of great options for people firing up the grill and cooking some meats. If you’re offering leaner, lighter white sausages (like chicken), try a Pinot Grigio from Vino Noceto. For something a bit heavier with a note of spice, consider a Cabernet Franc from Regale Winery or Cuda Ridge. If you’re looking to fire up the taste buds with lots of spice in your offerings, match those flavors to a spicier wine like a Zinfandel from Guglielmo Winery. There are plenty of options to choose from, but as usual, remember to match the major flavor notes with the wine and you’ll be pleased.
First of all, note that pairing a wine with something as generic sounding as “Chicken Wings” can be a little dangerous. Have you ever been to a Buffalo Wild Wings? Have you seen all the different “flavors” they offer on their “Chicken Wings?” It can be overwhelming. So we’ve picked this menu item out as something you’d maybe want to prepare and bring with to a Super Bowl party. In particular, this recipe that calls for a coffee and pepper glaze chicken wing would pair interestingly with Zinfandel from Satori Cellars Winery or Karmere Vineyards and Winery. If you’re really adventurous, try pairing it with Kirigin Cellars’ Vino de Mocca after dinner, as it’s a special fortified dessert wine with coffee flavoring. Coffee flavoring is not always my cup of tea, but in this case, you could do worse.
Shrimp will often show up at Super Bowl parties as handy finger food. Whether it’s grilled or in a shrimp cocktail version, shrimp proves to be a handy food item to pair. The lean, crisp seafood taste tends to always pair well with white wines. In cases like this, a Pinot Grigio from Vino Noceto Winery or Fenestra Winery would work well, as would an Albarino from Cru Wine Company. Just try not to drip any cocktail sauce on your shirt!
Chips at a Super Bowl Party are the ultimate item to pair. Why? Because they’re essentially a blank slate of flavor! Add some salsa on top and you can pair it with a Tempranillo from Idle Hour Winery. The spices will pair up nicely. Going with something a bit milder, like this chips and guacamole recipe? Tone the wine punch down and pick a traditional Chardonnay from Burrell School Winery, or Silver Mountain. Both should play decently off of the lean guacamole flavors … Unless someone loaded it up with too many jalapeños and lime juice!
The mother of all football recipes! A pot of chili is easy to make, can be offered in a variety of styles, and will stick to your bones throughout your football party. But what to drink with chili? Let’s assume you’re working off of a chili recipe that calls is heavy on strong, flavorful meats. A heavier wine like a Nebbiolo from Domenico Winery or Aglianico from Caparone Winery would do nicely. Going a bit leaner on the chili, or maybe even more vegetarian? No problem. Step back from the bold wine upper cuts and try a Sangiovese from Borjon Winery. Either way, you’ll end up a winner!
Good luck! Regardless of who wins, which commercial is funniest, or how embarrassing the Super Bowl Half Time show is, you can still enjoy a fine glass of wine with your food. If you’re curious about other food pairings, check out our “Food and Wine Pairings” category tag to see all our pairing posts. Do your homework, come prepared, and you’ll win big every time. Happy drinking!
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