Wine of the Week: Picking the right bottle for the 2020 Super Bowl

Super Bowl LIV is crawling toward us Sunday 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.

The 2020 Super Bowl will decide the champion for the NFL’s 100th season. The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers will face the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Millions of viewers eagerly await both the kickoff and the attention-grabbing commercials, with equal anticipation.

And, of course, copious amounts of food will be consumed. My bet is there will be plenty of barbecued ribs and smoked brisket (including my favorite, burnt ends) in Kansas City households, while Bay Area fans are sure to snack on Dungeness crab and Cioppino.

Of course, the traditional tailgating favorites, such as pizza and chicken wings, will surely sneak onto menus as well.

While the range of Super Bowl fare has the potential to run the gamut of every major food group, the choice of beverage in our household remains constant: wine. But which wine to serve alongside these culinary selections will probably depend on which team you’re supporting.

Here are a few ideas that will please the palates of fans in both camps while leaving enough money in your wallet to still buy a few picks in the office pool.

Kansas City is known for its barbecue. After all, Kansas City plays host to the world-renowned American Royal World Series of Barbecue competition every fall. So, I’m sure there will be some serious barbecue served up, Kansas City style, in homes, bars and restaurants across the country.

Whether you’re planning on pulled pork, ribs or brisket, a big bold red wine is going to be a good choice to stand up to bold flavors and meaty richness. My top draft choice is the 2017 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma, California.

The wine displays an aromatic nose featuring scents of blueberry and ripe plum that lead to flavors of red cherry, plum and blueberry liqueur that seem to glide over the palate. Notes of red licorice and baking spices fill in the lovely, bold finish. It’s sure to be a perfect match with hickory-smoked ribs. $38

Having spent part of my youth and recent adulthood in San Francisco, I know seafood is the name of the game in the city. My personal favorite is Dungeness crab, preferably served “Louis-style” in an avocado half.

And what better way to celebrate both the richness of the crab and creaminess of the avocado than with the 2018 Ehlers Estate Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, California? This wine is vibrant and lively, with scents of pineapple, lemon/lime citrus and a touch of passion fruit on the nose.

It also boasts flavors of guava, pear and grapefruit on the crisp-yet-creamy palate. Part of the wine is produced in stainless steel and then aged sur lie in barrels, which provides balance and a creamy, textured finish. $32

For those who don’t have a dog in this fight but just want to enjoy the game with a great glass of wine, the 2017 Meiomi Pinot Noir from the Central Coast of California is mission accomplished. It has a lovely perfume nose of ripe red raspberries, red plums and earthy aromas.

The palate reveals a very straightforward arsenal of fresh red fruits, toasty oak and a hint of mocha on the supple, soft finish. Best of all, it plays well with a variety of Super Bowl fare. $25

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