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
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 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.
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.
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:
Best Chicken Wings in the US
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
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The best wine for a Super Bowl party is beer.
Drinking wine at a superbowl party is a huge faux pas... It's like a cow eating grain, it just shouldn't happen.
did she mean 'wine' or 'whine'?
The wings in the photo look nasty. Yuck!
THey look like bbq wings, not buffalo.
Who drinks wine at a super bowl party? That's like drinking beer at the opera.
I do. Although it is because I am allergic to some ingredients in beer.
Yeast? Hops? Barley?
I am allergic to some beers like budweiser, miller, coors, gnarly stuff.
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
Hard cider is gulten free.
The author's crazy... Everyone knows the best wine is MadDog.
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/
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.
Your mom's name is wine?
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