Top Super Bowl Foods & Wine Pairings

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  • by DEVIN PARR
  • on FEBRUARY 1, 2022
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Sure, the Super Bowl is all about the big game and whether or not your team will reign supreme. But we’re convinced it’s also about the food and drinks. Super Bowl Sunday is the ultimate excuse to lay out a lavish spread of your favorite party-ready snacks and treats and indulge in an all-day eating, drinking, and cheering (or yelling) at your TV fest.

While beer has stereotypically been the go-to beverage of choice for sporting events, the sheer range of classic and creative Super Bowl food ideas out there really lends itself to some brilliant wine pairings.

In celebration of Super Bowl LVI – and hungry and thirsty sports fans everywhere – we have compiled a fun guide to our favorite game day food and wine pairings for Super Bowl Sunday. So, this year, skip the keg and grab that corkscrew for your most delicious game day ever.

The Ultimate Super Bowl Food and Wine Guide

Courtesy of Unsplash

Loaded Nachos + Tempranillo

Who doesn’t love a giant pile of salty tortilla chips layered with mouth-watering toppings like salsa, queso, guacamole, beans, jalapenos, sour cream, and green onions? Game day nachos are a true Super Bowl staple. This year, step them up with the perfect nacho wine pairing – tempranillo. This versatile Spanish grape makes many different styles of wine, from soft and fruity to rich and earthy, so it provides a beautiful backdrop for the kaleidoscopic flavors of loaded nachos.

Wines to try:
Robert Hall 2019 Cavern Select Tempranillo, Paso Robles, California, $50 Ramon Bilbao 2019 Crianza, Rioja, Spain, $19

Pulled Pork Sliders + Zinfandel

Nothing makes the stomach growl quite like the tantalizing aroma of pork shoulder braising in the slow cooker. Fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth, and coated in a sweet, sticky, smoky BBQ sauce, it doesn’t get much better when it comes to next-level deliciousness. Pair pulled pork sliders with a big, velvety zinfandel. Zins are packed with ripe and jammy berry fruit, soft tannins, and sweet notes of cola, mocha, and balsamic, which can play nicely off similar flavors in your favorite BBQ sauce.

Wines to try:
Seghesio 2019 Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma, California, $40 Frank Family Vineyards 2018 Chiles Valley Zinfandel, Chiles Valley, California, $60
Courtesy of Unsplash

Fried Chicken + Bubbles

Sparkling wine and fried anything is one of life’s greatest food and wine pairings, and, as a Super Bowl duo, it’s no exception. Whether it’s panko-breaded tenders or a good ol’ bucket of the Colonel’s best, a glass of crisp, cold sparkling wine and some crispy, salty fried chicken is a finger-lickin’ match made in heaven.

Wines to try:
Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, Napa Valley, California, $24 Paula Kornell Brut Méthode Champenoise, California, $22

Coconut Shrimp + Sauvignon Blanc

Crispy, crunchy, sweet and salty, coconut shrimp is the perfect bite-sized snack, and a delight to pair with wine. We love a juicy, high acid, New World sauvignon blanc for its mouth-watering freshness, riper fruit style, and full mouthfeel. Think: sauvignon blanc from Chile, California, or New Zealand. The bright fruit and heady aromatics will play nicely with the tropical coconut flavors, and the clean mouthfeel will provide a nice hit of tartness to wash it all down.

Wines to try:
Jessup Cellars 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, $35 Pine Ridge 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, $38

Buffalo Wings + Aromatic or Off-Dry White Wine

Just say the words “game day” and our noses immediately prickle with the tangy smell of buffalo wing sauce. This classic finger food is the MVP of most Super Bowl party spreads, but those crowd-pleasing flavors can be tricky to pair with wine, as they’re often zesty, spicy, salty, and fatty all in one. Whether you’re doing classic buffalo chicken wings, or going with the milder, but equally delicious buffalo chicken dip, you’ll want to find a wine that can stand up to the strong flavor profiles without competing with them. Try a fruity, slightly aromatic white wine like a pinot gris or an off-dry German riesling.

Wines to try:
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2020 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon, $17 Clean Slate 2020 Riesling, Mosel, Germany, $11

French Onion Dip + Chardonnay

Why eat a bowl of potato chips when you can eat a bowl of potato chips with a side of French onion dip? This creamy concoction, whether you’re making it with a pre-packaged mix or sweet, buttery, caramelized onions on the stovetop, takes an ordinary chip and turns it into magic. Add a glass of crisp, minerally chardonnay – oaked or unoaked – to cleanse the palate from the fat and salt of the chips, while mingling with the creamy, buttery, slightly earthy notes of the dip.

Wines to try:
Jordan 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, California, $36 Etude 2019 Grace Benoist Ranch Estate Carneros Chardonnay, Carneros, California, $32

Pizza + Sangiovese

It doesn’t get much easier than ordering a few pizza pies, popping some bottles, and focusing your attention on more important game day concerns, like whether that was really an incomplete pass, and what’s going on with your Super Bowl squares. For an ultra-low-maintenance Super Bowl party, there’s no better pairing than a slice and a glass of juicy, sangiovese-based Chianti. The bright acidity, cherry fruit, and typically lower alcohol profile make this a perfect match for oozy, gooey, cheesy pizza, not to mention one of the most quaffable red wines out there. Bonus points if you slurp it from an everyday tumbler while pizza grease drips down your arm.

Wines to try:
Bottaia 2018 Sangiovese, Temecula Valley, California, $55 Il Molino di Grace 2017 Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy, $25
Courtesy of Unsplash

Chili + Soft & Fruity Reds

No Super Bowl party would be complete without a pot of hearty chili. And, no self-respecting chili, whether traditional beef, white, or vegetarian, would come without a little spicy heat, so you will want to reach for a lighter-bodied, low-tannin wine for this food pairing, since high-alcohol, super robust wines are the enemy of spicy dishes. Soft, fruit-forward red wines like pinot noir, gamay, and grenache provide just enough body to stand up to the layers of flavor in chili, but are silky enough to offset the spice of even the hottest five-alarm recipe.

Wines to try:
The Paring 2019 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA $25 (Appropriately, The Paring is the featured wine of SoFi Stadium, home to this year’s Super Bowl) Borsao 2019 Tres Picos Garnacha, Campo de Borja, Spain, $19

Slow Cooker Meatballs + Merlot

One of the easiest Super Bowl snacks is the slow cooker meatball. While many party hosts swear by this simple grape jelly meatball recipe (WineCountry verified – these are indeed delicious), nearly anything goes when it comes to these bite-sized crowd-pleasers. Whether you prefer your meatballs tossed in a tangy, sweet, or tomato-based sauce, a juicy, fruit-forward merlot with notes of savory herbs and spice should be the perfect pairing.

Wines to try:
Crosby Roamann 2019 Merlot, Napa Valley, California $75 ETTORE 2018 Merlot Zero, Mendocino County, California, $35

Filet Mignon Crostini + Cabernet Sauvignon

“With Super Bowl food, the tendency is to stick with pub-style food,” says certified sommelier and wine educator Brianne Cohen. “Why not flip the script and serve food (and wine!) to impress.” We can get behind getting a little fancy on game day! She recommends crostini topped with seared beef tenderloin and balsamic onion jam for an elevated Super Bowl snack. Highbrow finger food obviously calls for equally highbrow wine, so reach for a bottle of big, brooding, tannin-laden cabernet sauvignon, which will go heavenly with the steak, sweet-tart onions, and hopefully either a loss or a win.

Wines to try:
Kenwood Vineyards 2018 Jack London Dry Farmed Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Mountain, California, $44 Broadside 2018 Blackletter Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California, $55

Still struggling with what to serve? Robert Ord, the Director of Winery Relations at Underground Cellar makes it easy: “Personally I try to keep the wine selections simple so that everyone can enjoy the game without having to switch wines. I generally go with one white wine and one red wine that can pair well with a variety of foods.” His suggestion? Sauvignon blanc and grenache for their ability to pair with a wide range of dishes, from chicken wings to guacamole to BBQ flavors.

Hungry for more? Be sure to check out our Super Bowl Pinterest Board for more delicious game day inspiration.

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Author

Devin Parr

Devin Parr is a San Diego-based freelance writer and consultant specializing in wine, travel and lifestyle. In addition to covering the global wine industry, she is the resident expert in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, serving as the region’s ambassador on behalf of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association. She holds a certification in wine expertise from the Apicius International School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy, as well as the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma. In 2017, she was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers. Follow her adventures at @thesocalwinegal and www.devinparr.com.

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