The USDA says Super Bowl Sunday is the second-biggest day for pigging out, after Thanksgiving.
So it’s time for my annual rant that bold, hearty wine is a far better match than wimpy light beer for the snacks that go with watching 400-pound linemen pummel each other for 60 minutes.
Now, compared to Thanksgiving dinner, Super Bowl snacks tend to be more, shall we say, unsubtle, with fiery Buffalo wings replacing white-meat turkey and jalapeño-laced cheese dip taking the place of antioxidant-packed cranberries.
Super Bowl Sunday is for those fat-laden, salty, crunchy, cholesterol-packed snacks that some might call junk food, but we football fanatics call it comfort food as we paint our faces in team colors and settle down on the couch.
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So it’s up to us wine fans to demonstrate that our regal beverage can handle a pepperoni pizza just as well as a platter of Poulet Bonne Femme.
Let’s consider some popular Super Bowl munchies to make our point.
Spicy Buffalo wings
The quintessential Super Bowl treat. Would be great with off-dry white riesling, under the rule that sweetness soothes spice.
2012 Kennedy Shah Reserve Riesling, by The Woodhouse Wine Estates, Yakima Valley, Washington; floral aromas, lightly sweet flavors of peaches and minerals; $25.
Five-alarm beef-and-bean chili
Calls for hearty, fruity red zinfandel, which has the spiciness to stand up to the heat.
2012 Edmeades Zinfandel, Piffero Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge: aromas and flavors of sweet black cherries and spice, smooth, long finish; $31.
The salty crunch brigade
Peanuts, potato chips, Cheetos, trail mix, tortilla chips cry out for the ice-cold, bubbly, inexpensive Italian sparkling wine called prosecco.
Nonvintage La Marca Prosecco DOC, Veneto, Italy: floral aroma, softly bubbly, flavors of limes and green melons; $17.
Guacamole and creamy dips
From bleu cheese to onion to artichoke. Rich enough to match a big, buttery California chardonnay.
2013 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast: toasty oak aromas, rich, full-bodied, with aromas and flavors of ripe pineapples; $25.
With red onion, cilantro, jalapeños and such. The spicy tang is nicely matched by a fruity, dry rosé.
2013 J Vin Gris Rosé Wine, Russian River Valley: floral aromas, crisp, flavors of ripe strawberries; $20.
Plus meatball subs, 6-foot-long deli sandwiches and muffulettas call for a soft, fruity red wine like Australian shiraz.
2012 Pillar Box Shiraz, by Henry’s Drive Vignerons, Padthaway, Australia: floral aromas, flavors of black plums and milk chocolate, soft and fruity; $22.
Need a light red wine such as Chianti.
2012 Folonari Chianti DOCG, Veneto (sangiovese): crisp, light and lively, with tart cherry flavors; $18
Brownies, chocolate-chip cookies and chocolate cake call for a counterintuitive but splendid match with cabernet sauvignon. Honest.
2012 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile: smoky oak aroma, flavors of black cherries and mocha, firm tannins; $25.
These aren’t very Super-Bowl-like, but, if you like them, make it a point to eat one this year. I predict that by next year the Cupcake Era will have gone out with a sugary crash, to be replaced by gourmet doughnuts or, even more likely, gourmet waffles. For all of these, a sweet moscato is ideal.
2012 Moscato Allegro, by Martin Weyrich, California: floral aromas, crisp, ripe peach flavors, lively acids; $12.