WASHINGTON — Once again, the culmination of the professional football season is rapidly approaching.
Super Bowl LII is crawling toward us like a supertanker pulling into port. Looming large on the horizon, it churns steadily and purposefully toward television sets poised in homes and sports bars across the country — and around the world. Millions of viewers eagerly await both the kickoff and the attention-grabbing commercials with equal anticipation.
And, of course, copious amounts of food of every manner will be consumed while watching the big game. From chili and nachos, to chicken wings and barbecued ribs, the range of Super Bowl fare has the potential to run the gamut of every major food group.
The choice of which beverages to serve alongside these culinary selections can be a challenge.
In our house, we rarely need an excuse to reach for the corkscrew over the bottle opener, but when the cooking is elevated from chow to cuisine, the decision is a no-brainer. Wine will win the day every time. This Super Bowl, we’re preparing some delectable bites to enjoy with perfectly-paired wines between downs. Of course, we’ll take a timeout during commercial breaks to enjoy the beer commercials.
So, don’t throw the challenge flag just yet. Instead, try pairing a few of these super delicious wines alongside your Super Bowl fare. It’s sure to be a touchdown!
Patriots fans will likely feature New England clam chowder or lobster rolls on their game day menu. The 2014 Chateau de Nages Joseph Torres Blanc from the Costieres de Nimes region of the Southern Rhone Valley is a blend of 80 percent Roussanne and 20 percent Viognier that is rich and giving in style. It features beautiful scents of apples, apricots and honeysuckle notes both on the nose and on the pallet. This full-bodied white wine will definitely stand up to the rich flavors of both the soup and the sandwich. $23
If your plans include rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles, then Philly steak and cheese sandwiches are probably on the menu. The beef, creamy cheese and sautéed onions will lineup beautifully with the aptly named 2012 Eagles Trace Foster Vineyards cabernet sauvignon, which is a blend of 75 percent cabernet sauvignon and 25 percent merlot from Napa Valley. This wine is bursting with aromas of cherry cola and baking spices on the nose and followed by rich flavors of blackberry, cassis and dark plum on the palate. Notes of vanilla and toasty oak glide in on the supple, long finish. $30
A favorite at many Super Bowl parties includes nachos. If this is on your menu, then you are going to want something festive and versatile, like a sparkling wine. With its tight bubbles and bright acidity, the Non-Vintage Segura Viudas cava Brut Reserva Heredad from Spain shouts “party.” The aforementioned bubbles spread lively notes of fresh pineapple, roasted nuts and ripe pear flavor over the tongue while the bright acidity keeps the hints of baked bread and lemon/lime light on the crisp finish. This wonderful beer-alternative delivers a palate-refreshing counterpoint to the salty, spicy, cheesy nacho components. $14
I am known in my football-watching-circle of friends for my chicken wings, which feature a sauce that brings the heat with the sweat, so I have to make sure that I have a wine on hand that can cut through the spice. I am planning on fighting fire with fire with the 2015 Dry Creek Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel from Sonoma County, California. The average vine age for the fruit is 85 years and produces a brooding wine whose nose reveals black plum and chocolate with a hint of cinnamon. The lush flavors of blackberries, cherry and plum plays out over the entire tongue and the hint of black pepper puts an exclamation point on the bright finish. $32
Chili is always a welcomed guest at Super Bowl parties, but most people will associate chili with beer. The 2014 John Duval Entity Shiraz from Barossa Valley in Australia will change that thought. This dense, rich wine offers up a perfumed bouquet of blueberry liqueur, blackberry, smoke and black pepper. Flavors of blackberry, cassis, blueberry and smoked meats fill the full-throttled palate. Hints of Asian spices and pepper round out the powerful-yet-elegant finish and compliment the spicy chili and all of the accompaniments. $40