Best wines for Super Bowl snacks (no - seriously)
February 1st, 2013
08:00 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.

I know, I know, everyone will be drinking beer for the Super Bowl. There will be beer in cans and beer in bottles, beer in kegs and beer in buckets. Rivers of beer will flow, and rafting along them will be cheery platoons of 49ers and Ravens fans.

But what about the few brave folks out there who, when confronted by that fifth plate of Buffalo chicken wings, lift their wineglass and down the contents, feeling nothing but courage and a sense that sidestepping the expected is the reason they’re alive?

Well, for the few and the proud - i.e., the wine-drinking football fans of the world - here are a few excellent Super Bowl wine options, tied to some of the most popular Super Bowl snacks.

Ray's beer picks for Super Bowl snacks

Potato Chips
With salt and fat (pretty much the essence of the potato chip) you want acidity and bubbles. A lively sparkling wine, anything from Champagne to Prosecco to cava, is a great partner for potato chips, or really chips of any kind.

Two particularly good deals: the citrusy NV Bouvet Signature Brut, a Loire Valley sparkling wine made from Chenin Blanc, and, since one of this year’s teams is from San Francisco, the lively NV Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Brut from California.

More potato chip pairings from Ray

Buffalo Chicken Wings
Tannins and high alcohol in wine both amplify heat, so it’s generally best to avoid them with spicy food (that is, unless you’re one of those ghost-pepper-eating, phall-curry-chomping madmen). Instead, try an off-dry Riesling - the light sweetness will balance the heat, and Riesling’s stone fruit notes are great with chicken (and with the obligatory blue cheese dressing). Look for the nectariney 2011 Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Washington or the apple-inflected 2011 Loredona Riesling from California.

Ray's favorite beers for chicken wings

Chili
Chili can have some heat, sure, but even more than that it has everything: meat, lots of spices, beans (or not - fierce arguments erupt over this), maybe some cheese on top. It’s basically a big bowlful of intense flavor, and it needs an equally substantial wine to go along with it; anything light or delicate is simply going to get wiped out.

My vote this Super Bowl season goes to Argentine Malbec, whose peppery, plummy flavors are great with chili. Two impressive values are the potent 2011 Pascual Toso Malbec and the berry-rich 2010 Argento Reserva.

Pizza
Here’s the actual truth when it comes to pizza: a lot of wines go just fine with it. You’re basically looking at cheese, tomato sauce and bread, in other words some fat and protein, a little acidity, and a whole lot of carbs. Malbec, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Champagne - any of them would work, so why not go a different route and pour something that seems culturally apt, like an Italian red? Santadi’s spicy 2010 Grotta Rossa from Sardinia is a southern Italian bargain; so is the aromatic, juicy 2010 Planeta La Segreta Rosso from Sicily.

Creamy Dips
Onion dip, ranch dressing, even guacamole - the actual name for this category could be “goopy stuff,” but that’s not really very appetizing. Regardless, you want a wine that’s going to cut through the unctuous richness of whatever that is that you just put into your mouth. A crisp, unoaked Chardonnay ought to do the trick, like the vibrant 2011 Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay from New Zealand or the appley 2011 Apaltagua Reserva Unoaked from Chile.

Best beers for last year's Super Bowl match-up

More from Food & Wine

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Delicious Chicken Wing Recipes

Best Burgers in the US

Best Pizza Place in the US

Ultimate Super Bowl Recipes

Dude - so much Super Bowl food and booze right here

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Junk • Sip • Super Bowl • Tailgating • Wine


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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Ruzmarin

    I just got paid $6784 working on my laptop using these simple steps leaked on this web page. Weekly payments! Make up to $85 per hour doing simple tasks that are so easy to do that you wont forgive yourself if you don't check it out!!! Here is what I've been doing – Rich45.ℂOM

    February 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  2. Pragmaclast

    The best wine for a Super Bowl party is beer.

    February 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  3. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    Drinking wine at a superbowl party is a huge faux pas... It's like a cow eating grain, it just shouldn't happen.

    February 1, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  4. 1gadawg

    did she mean 'wine' or 'whine'?

    February 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
  5. TJ

    The wings in the photo look nasty. Yuck!

    February 1, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • Shawn

      THey look like bbq wings, not buffalo.

      February 2, 2013 at 8:11 am |
  6. Shawn

    Who drinks wine at a super bowl party? That's like drinking beer at the opera.

    February 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Sam

      I do. Although it is because I am allergic to some ingredients in beer.

      February 1, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
      • Shawn

        Yeast? Hops? Barley?

        February 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
      • Clown

        I am allergic to some beers like budweiser, miller, coors, gnarly stuff.

        February 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
      • causinascene

        I had a girlfriend like that..She used to drink rice beers if that helps you out..I know gluten free folks who are able to drink rice beers as well..Sapparo is a good one..Busch light is tolerable for a few beers not many but two or three...not much wheat or barley in that one

        February 1, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
        • onlyaname

          Hard cider is gulten free.

          February 3, 2013 at 6:27 am |
  7. Typical Southerner...

    The author's crazy... Everyone knows the best wine is MadDog.

    February 1, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  8. grapefriend

    Or drink wine made by ex football players and coaches! Ditka, Bledsoe, Mirer, Hoage, Johnson – they're all in: http://grapefriend.com/2013/02/01/super-bowl-of-grapes/

    February 1, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  9. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Wine sucks.

    February 1, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • ROB

      wine is for the classier of people. has a better alcohol content in it, and can be and is a upscale drink. grow up dizzle, and learn that your 40s arent the only things out there.

      February 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • SN

      Your mom's name is wine?

      February 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
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