Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Bowl Wines

Coming up on Super Bowl LXIX, we thought we'd update a post that still rings true four years later. Sure, we have pigskin picks to vinify your Super Sunday, but first a few food facts about the super-snackdown day of the year. Any idea what this statistic means?


No, it's not the number of excuses offered by the Pats to explain Deflate-gate. Incredibly, it's the amount of calories Americans will tackle this Super Bowl Sunday, even gut-busting Thanksgiving Day, the defending pig-out champion. The average fan is set to scarf 1,200 calories and 50 grams of fat from game day snacking alone – and that doesn't include any regular meals that day. 

Unless you plan to walk around a football field for three hours, no amount of fist-pumping and pogo-cheering is going to burn off those calories. Backfield in motion, baby, and bring out the tape. Or, as comedienne Elaine Boosler would say, why not just rub that stuff right into your thighs?

Worse perhaps is that so many bowl day foods are close to awful. Can we get a holding foul here? Burgers, fried funkitude and chip-dip combos that scream out for an aspirin-nitro-statin garnish hardly seem worth the angina – or agita either, for the Italians out there. I mean, if you're gonna Hail Mary, doesn't a nice plate of lasagna or a juicy rib-eye off the grill sound more appealing than something that stinks of cilantro or singes your palate? Yuck.

Bottom line is that many Super Bowl food flavors + wine = false start. Chili, thick dips and weighty or fried foods are hard hits for lighter reds and oaked Chardonnays. In the red zone, Cabernet tannins come across as too harsh when combined with super salty foods. Even bigger or bolder reds such as Syrah or Zinfandel can get crushed in the pileup by four-alarm barbecue sauces or hotly spiced wings. 

Unfortunately, there aren't many takers for the alt idea of super Sunday: flip on the crockpot in the morning and uncork a favorite bottle over a real meal during halftime break. No worries about delay of game or missing the halftime show – odds are it'll be as lame as ever, with or without a nip-slip. Bah humbug. So with a shrug to mega-snacking as the official play of the day, here are wine picks sure to score big with the gang:

Riesling racks up huge yardage for how well it goes with a wide range of foods, especially spicy dishes, sausage, salads and smoked fish. Many Rieslings are low-alcohol too, to help keep guests safe and under-the-limit. Look for Dr L by Loosen Brothers in the tall, teal screw-cap bottle, under $15 at Dan's Wine Shop and Trader Joe's. Another pick is Chateau St. Michelle, which reliably makes great Riesling from bone dry to a range of sweetness levels. Buy six or more at local grocers to get the best price. 

Box Wines
The space-saving eco-packaging by Octavin Home Wine Bar holds three liters, equal to four bottles of wine. With a convenient pour spout, these tasty, good quality wines will douse a couch-full of thirsty fans. Find them at Albertsons and Ralphs grocers, better still when they're on sale. Kickoff reds worth a runback are the low-tannin Pinot Evil Pinot Noir or Big House Red. We hear good things about Black Box, on our list to taste.

If you think real men don't drink pink, food-friendly rosé will rock your manly man's playbook. Go with New World rosés made from heartier red grapes instead of more delicate French and Provençal rosé styles. Give it a good chill and watch for conversions. Try screw-capped Tapiz Rosé of Malbec from Argentina (BevMo!), Barnard Griffin Rosé of Sangiovese from Oregon or Mulderbosch Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa (World Market Cost Plus, Dan's). 3rd Corner in Palm Desert is another source for tasty rosés.

Let us know if you find Super Bowl wines that score big, especially if they beat the odds.  

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