I know beer is the traditional drink for most game day fans. But, wine lovers know that the fermented grape is ---dare I say it--- a superior way to wash down the Super Bowl nachos, wings, chili,and pizza.
Yet, we wine fans are still fighting the long held misperception about wine and Super snack foods. Just this week I witnessed a dressing down of somebody who offered to bring a bottle of wine to a potluck Bowl party. Wine, the party organizer scolded the innocent potlucker, is simply not done at a Super Bowl party.
Well, I beg to differ. Wine is a natural accompaniment to Super Bowl favorites. Long before pizza was on the Super Bowl menu,it was a staple in Italian households. What better to go with this Italian classic than an Italian red wine like Chianti? The easy drinking Chianti can stand up to the acid in the tomato sauce, but not overpower the basil, oregano, and cheese.
Peppery and plummy Zinfindel is a delicious compliment to a bowl of meaty spicy chili.
For nachos, another red wine, a soft Merlot of subtle fruit and pepper.
And white wine fans, Gewurtraminer is a fantastic match for Buffalo chicken wings--fried crisp, coated with a spicy hot sauce and dipped into a cholesterol laden blue cheese sauce. (I know there is the requisite side dish of celery or carrot sticks, but who are you kidding?)
Basically, when matching food and wine, focus on the elements of the dish. What is the primary ingredient? How do the other ingredients and the seasonings or sauces come together? You want your wine to enhance the food, but not overpower it, and to bring the wine/food combination up a notch.
If matching individual foods with wine does not sound like fun, opt for the universal wine of salty, greasy, fried snack foods. Champagne's bubbliness is a natural palate cleanser, making it a particularly tasty match for Super Bowl foods. I know that for many Super Bowl fans the idea of sipping Champagne while watching a gritty game of huge guys pummeling and tackling each other is ridiculous. But, I would submit they are thinking image not taste. Pour a budget friendly sparkling wine like an Italian Prosecco or a Spanish Cava into your game themed cup. Less refined bubbles, but it will be smashing with pizza, potato chips and dip, and whatever you are dishing out of the crock pot.
Maybe we wine lovers have a way to go to persuade the average Super Bowl fan to drink wine instead of knocking back a cold one from the fridge. Too soon for this year, maybe. But, some day Joe Six Pack might just be sipping and swirling a glass of Merlot with a enticing bouquet.