Aren’t you glad you’re not going to the Super Bowl? Paying an average of more than $5,000 a seat? And another $80 for a parking space at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. — where they still won’t let you celebrate the patriotic American tradition of tailgating?
Oh, you can bring your own food if you want, but grills and party tents are banned, as well as anything else that extends outside the chalked lines of your little parking space. It’s a security thing since 9/11.
“It’s like Thanksgiving without turkey,” grumped one fan to the San Jose Mercury News.
So let’s take our partially-deflated ball and go home. To our own backyard, with its grill, cooler, lawn chairs, Frisbees, dogs, cats, main squeezes and all of our equally impecunious friends. Oh, and TV sets with long cords for instant replays.
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See the bright side. Saving that $5,000 can buy a pretty fancy spread of food and drink. So let us avoid the embarrassment of light beer and buy some nice wine, which is a better football drink anyway.
This brings up the question of what wines go with game day fare. So let’s talk about that, for the five main super bowl food groups — salty snacks, fiery chicken wings, palate-scorching chili, massive, charred chunks of well-marbled meat and anything with cilantro in it.
▪ Salty snacks: popcorn, potato chips, corn doodles, crackers and such. The wine: inexpensive bubbly such as Italian prosecco, Spanish cava or American sparkling wine.
▪ Fiery buffalo chicken wings: These are so ubiquitous they make up a food group all by themselves. The wine: something lightly sweet, such as riesling.
▪ Five-alarm chili and other spicy meat dishes: The wine: Something hearty, lush and so fruity it almost seems sweet. This would be red zinfandel, red-wine blends, malbecs from Argentina and — for chicken chili and such — big, fat California chardonnays.
▪ Well-marbled (which is to say fat-laced) rib-eye steaks, grilled, blackened pork chops and lamb shanks want big, red, tannic wines: cabernet sauvignon or merlot.
▪ Tacos, enchiladas and other Tex-Mex dishes flavored with those menacing green flecks of cilantro: Scientists say we are genetically programmed to either love or hate cilantro, so only some of you will go for this. The wine: grapefruity, lime-tinged, cut-grass-scented sauvignon blanc.
▪ Nonvintage LaMarca Prosecco DOC: pale yellow hue, softly bubbly, crisp, with aromas and flavors of camellias, limes and grapefruit; $17.
▪ 2012 Grgich Hills Estate Merlot, Napa Valley: deep dark hue, aromas and flavors of black plums and anise, big, ripe tannins, smooth and full-bodied; $43.
▪ 2012 Geyser Peak “Tectonic” Red Wine Blend (cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, petite sirah), Alexander Valley, Calif.: dark hue, aromas and flavors of blackberries and mocha, rich and hearty; $28.
▪ 2014 Bodega Garzón Sauvignon Blanc: aromas and flavors of grapefruit, lime, cut grass and tart green apples, light and crisp; $17.
▪ 2014 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling, Columbia Valley, Wash.: pale green hue, lightly sweet, aromas and flavors of green pears and minerals; $9.
▪ 2013 William Hill Estate Chardonnay, North Coast, Calif.: aromas and flavors of ripe tropical fruit and warm spices, creamy and lush, long finish; $17.
▪ 2013 Plungerhead Zinfandel, Lodi, Calif.: dark color, aromas and flavors of black raspberries and brown sugar, soft and full-bodied; $12.
▪ 2014 Bodega Vistalba Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina: aromas of oak, black plums and anise, lush and full, soft tannins, smooth finish; $18.
▪ 2013 Bridlewood Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, Calif.: deep, dark hue, powerful aromas and flavors of black raspberries and black coffee, ripe tannins, smooth finish; $17.
Fred Tasker: firstname.lastname@example.org