Here’s something you may not know. A national chain that specializes in lusty wings and busty women (hint: the place rhymes with “looters”) pairs 20 chicken wings with a bottle of Dom Pérignon.
Now, I bring this up not to suggest that you should seek wine advice from this den of orange spandex, but to concede that they are dead-on in their pairing, at least gastronomically. Champagne and its less-expensive stunt doubles, Prosecco, cava and American sparkling wine, are positively perfect with the salty, smoky and often spicy nature of wings. The tanginess and effervescence of a dry sparkler will pierce the greasiness of wings and deglaze your tongue faster than you can say “happy hour,” a useful fact with the Super Bowl almost upon us.
With this in mind, here are six other pairings to supersize your Super Bowl wine experience.
Salsa (and Chips) and Sauvignon Blanc: The mouthwatering acidity and grassy character of Sauvignon Blanc scores big with salty chips and the tomato-y tang and herbaceousness of salsa.
Guacamole and Torrontés: Got Guac? Go for a crisp medium-weight white like Torrontés from Argentina, which often has the added benefit of a slight peachiness that will cool down spicier versions of guacamole.
Popcorn and Chardonnay: Buttery popcorn paired with rich, creamy Chardonnay is as lovably flavorful as the Chicago Bears’ classic Super Bowl Shuffle.
Pigs in a Blanket and Pinot Noir: If your pigskin day includes pigs in a blanket, which, I have observed, may also be the world’s most enthusiastically consumed wedding appetizer, pick a chillable mustard-loving red like a light Pinot Noir.
Pepperoni Pizza and Petite Sirah: It is almost un-American not to have a big pepperoni pizza at your shindig, so consider washing it down with the hearty, American-made, meat-friendly Petite Sirah.
Finally, don’t overlook the pro athletes who make great juice. Golf legend Greg Norman has a compelling portfolio of whites and reds from Australia and California, while fellow linksman Ernie Els makes quality reds from South Africa. Racecar champion Scott Pruett does a brilliant high-end Cabernet Sauvignon under the Pruett Vineyards name. And to really run up the score, try football great Drew Bledsoe’s memorable Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State’s Walla Walla Valley.
Mark Oldman is a wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the series The Winemakers. He shares with readers the basics of wine, while making it fun and practical.