by Paullette Gaudet
The Super Bowl is second only to Thanksgiving in the category of Favorite Non-Denominational Food-Based Holidays in these here United States, and besides—who doesn’t need an excuse for a binge-eat with friends come early chilly February?? Wine drinkers have long been the vegans at the BBQ when it comes to Super Bowl parties, which usually feature beer as the sole alcoholic beverage—after all, don’t brewskis pair best with extreme comfort foods like Double-Digit Dip, Five-Knuckle Hot Wings, and Chernobyl Chili? Turns out that wine is surprisingly flexible on this particular playing field: Sparkling Wine is a well-known complement to crispy, spicy and fatty foods, and light, bright reds go well with the rich flavors of meat dishes.
The true trick to successful Super Bowl wine integration is to remember why beer has worn this holiday’s crown for so long: it’s Cold, Low-Alcohol, Bitter, and Dry. White chilled wines are not often a go-to during the winter months, but fruity, just-this-side-of-dry blends check off the boxes of Cold, Low-Alcohol, Dry, and—if not Bitter—they are definitely not sweet. Look for blends containing Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay, or Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc, and Marsanne. Reds that are low in both alcohol and tannins work best for a long day of day-drinking and eating, and several—like Zweigelt, Beaujolais, Grenache—also chill well. Low-alcohol Zinfandels (less than 14%) are a bit harder to find, but are a good red option as well. Matching beer’s core attributes with those of suitable wines is an easy blanket food pairing that will keep both beer and wine lovers cheering for the same team: football feasting fun!