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Super Bowl Sunday: Junk Food and Wine-O-Rama!

by David on February 1, 2007

Well, it may not be all-American yet but, as Beau said, before long it could be that hot dogs and wine will be as American as apple pie (and wine) ;)

So, what to have with your junk-food binge on the big day? Well, here I am to give you the same old advice. When in doubt, pick out some good, crisp bubbles and you can’t go wrong! Fizzy wine is particularly useful for the greasiest, most disgusting choices you make, for instance fried pork rinds (must you??). The acid will help cleanse your palate after that revolting assault. Nice, grease-laden onion rings too. No question about it (yummm).

Chicago sommelier Alpana Singh made a good point, so I’m going to get all nationalistic here for a minute (good for sales, you know). Football is an all-American game and a lot of the foods are American icons like hot dogs and hamburgers, so let’s keep it American, folks. And when you think red, think Zinfandel! Besides the fact that America made it famous and it has been uniquely ours up to rather recently, it actually works surprisingly well with a variety of these delectably-toxic foods! If you pick out some Zin that’s big on fruit and low in tannin and oak you’re not going to have too much difficulty with salty or hot, spicy foods. If it’s really hot food, like hot salsa, serve it with a hefty dose of citrus to build a bridge to the wine. Try to find Zin that has a reasonable alcohol – unless, of course, you don’t really enjoy football. ;-)  OK, you don’t want to read a bunch of prose, so down to brass tacks:

  • Popcorn and potato chips: Sparkling wine, of course (especially if there’s onion dip!) Or, another high-acid white.
  • Mixed nuts: Nuts seem to be very wine-friendly in general, so drink your fave. If you like wines that are big on the oak, the toastiness is a complement. If they’re super salty, then careful of the alcohol and oak. Maybe go with something a little sweet (salty and sweet – mmm!)
  • Burgers: It has to be Zin!
  • Hot dogs: High-acid white or light-bodied red.
  • Chili dogs: Light to medium bodied red. If it’s 5-alarm chili, whatever it is, go easy on the alcohol and tannin. Go to a light-bodied, virtually no-tannin red like Gamay, a high-acid white, a slightly sweet white – or maybe a dry rose! If it’s a searing-hot chili that brings tears to the eyes and sweat to the brow you might have to give up and have a beer (I didn’t say that.)
  • Pizza: It really depends on the toppings, but if it’s traditional red-sauce pizza, of course you must have Zinfandel (or American Primitivo)!

Well, this starts to become repetitive – you see the pattern. High acid whites and light-bodied, low-tannin reds (and acid’s good for them too) are the most versatile, so stock up! And perhaps, since this is subjective, you have other ideas. Bring ‘em on!! But whatever you do, don’t let me catch you drinking beer!PS: Let’s hope this isn’t one of those years when the commercials are the most entertaining part of the game… And get your cholesterol checked!

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