Monday, January 31, 2011

Top Ten Super Bowl Wine Picks

This Sunday over 100 million people will tune in to watch the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers compete for the championship title at Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, TX. It's estimated that over $55 million and 10 million man-hours are spent purchasing and preparing all of the food for the big game. In fact, the amount of food consumed on Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving. The best part: we are expected to consume the majority of the estimated 30 million pounds of snacks within 15 minutes of kick-off. With all of that in mind, I thought it only appropriate to highlight a few wines to pair with some Super Bowl food favorites.

1. Nine Stones - Shiraz - Barossa Valley, Australia 2008 - $14
One of my favorite game day foods is chili. And whether you prefer the hearty stew-like chili or a lighter soup-like rendition, a spicy, juicy Shiraz makes for a great pairing. Personally I like my chili to have a little kick, and nothing will enhance the spice in the bowl like a spicy Shiraz from Australia. I like the Nine Stones because it's loaded with fruit and spice, and all for a good price. When you think chili, think Aussie Shiraz.

2. Artezin - Zinfandel - Mendocino County, California 2009 - $18
It's estimated that over 1 billion chicken wings will be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday. And when it comes to chicken wings I love barbecue sauce. So for this I selected a juicy, fruity Zin with a little spice to complement my game day selection. Try a little onion, garlic, and chili powder in your BBQ sauce, maybe even sriracha, and this Zin will draw it out perfectly.

3. Coppo - 'Camp du Rouss' Barbera d'Asti - Piedmont, Italy 2007 - $22
Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest pizza delivery day of the year. This year Domino's alone is expecting to sell between 1.1 and 1.2 million pies, and fans around the country will consume about 30 million slices on game day. When pairing wine with a frozen or delivery pizza I reach for a spicy red with some acid. The tomatoes in the sauce will bring a touch of acidity to the dish, and Barbera's natural acidity will ensure that this component is mirrored while its full body holds up without overpowering. Overall, a great game day pairing.

4. Crios by Susana Balbo - Torrontes - Salta, Argentina 2010 - $15
Like guacamole? You're not alone. It's estimated that over 50 million pounds of Avocados are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday. That's enough to cover the entire football field with a blanket of guacamole nearly 12 feet deep. And when it comes to guac, I look for a clean, crisp white with a little weight. Crios by Susana Balbo makes a great Torrontes, a varietal that has quickly become Argentina's calling card white. This wine has the weight to stand up to this pasty side with the flavors to enhance it. Add a little extra lemon juice to your guacamole this year; the Crios' refreshing acidity can withstand the citrus.

5. Cristalino by Juame Serra - 'Rosé Brut' Cava - Spain - $10
This Sunday experts say we will consume 8.5 million pounds of tortilla chips. Do you know what I hear? Nachos! Load on the beans, meat, chicken, tomatoes, black olives, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and cheese, and prepare for a night of antacids! A hearty nacho plate is complex, and believe it or not, the best pairing is a sparkling wine. I like Cava because it's made using the traditional method, but is available at a fraction of the price when compared to sparkling wines from Champagne. The Rosé Cava by Juame Serra Cristalino is incredibly food friendly and at a great value. It has the texture to compliment a busy nacho plate.

6. Dr. Loosen Brothers - 'Dr. L.' Riesling - Mosel, Germany 2009 - $12
The week leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, super markets see a 118% sales increase in lit'l smokies, or cocktail franks. For this delicious little weenie smothered in barbecue sauce you want something that has a touch of sugar. This clean, refreshing white has the acidity and sugar to compliment the sauce with a light weight to ensure we don't overpower this game day treat. The Dr. L is a great value-packed go-to for a variety of Super Bowl snacks.

7. Crossings - 'Unoaked' Chardonnay - Marlborough, New Zealand 2009 - $16
This week your neighborhood super market will see a 50% increase in the sale of Velveeta "cheese". It's this, coupled with the chip factor, that require me to offer a pairing for Velveeta Cheese Dip. Whether you doctor it up with refried beans and diced tomatoes or not, this processed brick of cheese turned creamy and labeled "queso" is a must have at most Super Bowl parties. And while I don't really consider it food, this dish begs for a delicious Chardonnay, hold the oak. The Crossings' 'Unoaked' Chardonnay has the weight to hold up to this creamy dish with a fresh acidity to hydrate the palate. Like I always say, there's a pairing for every dish, even a non-food dish!

8. Villa Maria - 'Cellar Selection' Sauvignon Blanc - Marlborough, New Zealand 2009 - $22
Whether or not you believe the claim that salsa outsells ketchup in the US, one thing is for sure: we eat a lot of salsa on Super Bowl Sunday. In fact, $5.3 million dollars worth to be specific. Couple that with the 8.5 million pounds of tortilla chips and you find yourself in need of a chips and salsa pairing. With salsa I look for a wine with some acidity to match the acid imparted by the tomatoes. The Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc has the perfect weight and acidity to compliment your favorite salsa, whatever the style.

9. Bogle - Chardonnay - California 2009 - $10
This Sunday Americans will consume over 4000 tons of popcorn. If we were to string all of that together it would be enough to go around the earth five and a half times. And to pair with this buttery, salty snack, I look for a buttery, rich California Chardonnay. I'm a big fan of Bogle wines as a general rule. Dollar for dollar they're a great value, and the winery is still family owned and operated, which I like. With this pairing the buttery richness of the Bogle Chardonnay enhances the buttery popcorn, while the mediumish acidity hydrates the palate after each sip.

10. Riondo - Prosecco - Veneto, Italy NV - $12
Last but not least we have Doritos - thank you Ali Landry. This salty, processed cheese snack makes for a great pairing to Riondo Prosecco. The refreshing characteristics of the wine hydrate the palate, while its bubbly texture compliments this crunchy triangular treat adored by football fans across the country.

America, enjoy your 51.7 million cases of beer and 1,300 calories per person this Super Bowl, but don't forget to pick up a few bottles of wine too. Now it's your turn. What favorite wines and snacks are going to be in your hand this Sunday? Send me an email, check me out on facebook, or leave a comment here on the blog to let me know!

For more information about me, more interesting wine information, and for delicious food and wine pairings, check us out online at Cru Wine Online. You'll find daily Wine and Recipe pairings just for our members. We pair our chefs' recipes with delicious wines, and bring them to you in an entertaining video short, complete with a brief explanation of the wine, the dish, and the pairing.

Sign up today for a 6 Month Membership and receive a FREE wine glass set, a $19.95 value. Life's too short not to enjoy every sip, so drink it up. Entertain your senses with Cru Wine Online's monthly membership. At only $7.99/month you can't afford not to! Thanks again for reading.

Nicholas Barth
Certified Sommelier
Wine Director


Doug Zimmerman said...

Great resource! We are right on the same page ... Vino & Super Bowl, a great match indeed!

Cru Wine Specialists said...

Thanks for reading! Great site.

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