Key (food & wine) matchups for Super Bowl XLVIII

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West meets east in this years’ big game, Super Bowl 48. Next Sunday night, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks play in a stadium built for New York teams that actually happens to be in New Jersey.

Weather is a factor (have you noticed it’s been freaking cold in the New York area lately?), Peyton Manning has had a banner year already and is looking for his second Super Bowl Ring (possibly his last hurrah?!), and more predictions have been made about what is going to come out of a certain Seattle players’ mouth than about the final score or the outcome of the game.

Whether you’ll be glued to the play by play action or just tuning in for the commercials, what will be in your glass? Many of you will be drinking beer, and who could blame you. The array of rich, cheesy, fatty foods that come with Super Bowl watching can necessitate an ice cold beer to wash them down. But if you’re a wine lover, there’s no reason you should be left out in the polar vortex. There’s plenty of wines that pair well with football party staples.

It’s a safe bet to pick up a sparkling wine or Champagne if you’re heading to a Super Bowl party and you don’t know exactly what’s being served. Crisp, refreshing wine with bubbles will pair will with everything from potato chips and shrimp cocktail to subs, grinders, heroes, or hoagies. You can grab a Prosecco, Cava, California sparkling wine, or Champagne depending on your crowd and how much you want to spend.

If you’re not particularly in the mood for bubbles and want to enjoy some white wine with your Super Bowl party fare, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc should do the trick. A Riesling with lots of lively acidity and a smidge of sweetness will work well with chips, shrimp, and sandwiches as well as spicy chicken wings, guacamole, and pigs in a blanket too. Ditto for Sauvignon Blanc, which is a great foil for that big pile of crudité (does anyone really eat the crudité?).

Sangiovese is a food pairing champ if red wine is what you’re thirsting for. Pizza, chili, and nachos will all benefit from the bright fruit and savory flavors of Sangiovese. You can also go for a softer, fruitier red wine with low tannins such as Grenache. Grenache, or Grenache heavy blends, will match well across the board.

If you feel like being a little different and just a little daring, pick up a Lambrusco from Italy. Served chilled, this sparkling red wine will hold up to salt, fat, and sweet but especially with cured meats and hard cheeses. If you’re a disappointed Jets or Giants fan, make your state a part of the game by choosing a Finger Lakes Riesling. We’ve already established that Riesling is a great match for snack foods and New York State is making some delicious examples. Washington State also has plenty of great wines to choose from. If you’re a Seahawks fan, opt for a medium bodied Cabernet-Merlot blendfrom Columbia Valley.

Super Bowl Sunday is more about enjoying friends, family, and the game than about what you’re drinking so just relax and drink what you like. Cheers (& “go Broncos)!

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