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Seven Unironic Wine Pairings for Super Bowl Snacks

Come now, mainlining guac doesn’t mean you have to stoop to Bud Light Lime.


Most people staring down a bowl of queso or a vat of wings reach instinctively for a beer or six. And while we love an ice-cold one as much as the next grunting fanatic, we always feel a bit calmer knowing there’s a bottle of Sauvy B. chilling nearby. Plus, with the proliferation of parties this weekend, why not pull out all the stops so that everyone—even your wine-loving friends and the public radio listeners down the hall—knows that they’ve chosen the right fiesta?

That said, if you’re bringing wine, you’ve got to be prepared for a little heckling. The best defense: Be ready to one-up with a bottle that goes with wings or nachos. Here, seven perfect Super Bowl pairings. (Cheapskates, take note: If you can’t find the brands, you’re still safe with the varietals.)

Dish: Nachos
Wine: Kenwood sauvignon blanc
Price: $12
Why it pairs: Grassy and tropical with plenty of acid and a hint of sweetness, Kenwood sauvignon blanc will roll with the nacho cheese and stiff-arm the spicy jalapeños. A killer value no matter what the occasion, this is a well-made (and easy-to-find) wine with plenty of structure. So even when your nachos are a pile of sour cream and soggy chips, the wine will provide backbone and crunch.

Dish: Hot wings, buffalo wings, any wings
Wine: Tess red and white blend
Price: $20
Why it pairs: Tess is a blend of red and white varietals that has enough body to suit the palate of red wine drinkers, and enough lightness and zest to please devotees of white. This easygoing wine will help chill things out if you’ve got fans from both sides, as it’s made to be served right out of the cooler. It packs enough sweetness to go with honey mustard and enough acid to cut the spice of wings. As a bonus, you can throw a raspberry in the glass and serve it in the morning to, ahem, “clear your palate” from the night before.

Dish: Chili and/or steak
Wine: Terra di Monteverro red blend
Price: $68.99
Why it pairs: If your party’s in Pac Heights and you want to impress, this red blend will knock the Izods off your hosts and pair well with steak or chili, specifically spicy Chili Colorado. The structure and tannins of this Tuscan red cut perfectly through the cheese and meat, and the wine's soft entrance and fresh ripe fruit will high-step the spice of the dish or steak sauce. This is also an intense wine, so it will also pair well with the vibe of a close game. If you’ve already spent all your money gambling on the Broncos, then try the less expensive sibling, Monteverro Verruzzo

Dish: Burgers and barbecue
Wine: Joel Gott zinfandel
Price: $14.99
Why it pairs: An earthy, juicy zinfandel suits just about anything off the barbecue. Burgers are ideal, sausages sing, and even a hot dog will rise to this fruit-forward wine. It’s bold enough to hang with your burger and jammy enough to play well with sauerkraut, ketchup, and mustard. If you’re big on relish, you might want to go back to the Kenwood sauvignon blanc or, frankly, just grab a beer for this round.

Dish: Veggie platters and salads
Wine: Butter chardonnay
Price: $15.99
Why it pairs: Another easily found wine, Butter chardonnay is exactly as billed: buttery! This big, round, oaky, crunchy, and slightly sweet chard will hide any bitterness found in a leafy green, and will also compliment the creaminess of a Caesar dressing or mayonnaise-based dish like potato salad. Serve chilled to hide some of the bolder wine flavors if your salad is subtle or has a vinegar-based dressing. Serve at room temperature if you’re trying to cover up a boring pasta salad or store-bought veggie platter. 

Dish: Seven-layer dip
Wine: Columbia Crest H3 cabernet sauvignon
Price: $11.99
Why it pairs: You really aren’t ever sure what’s in a seven-layer dip, and within a few scoops there may be some lingering questions. With all this confusion, it’s best to stick with a bold and steady wine like the Columbia Crest cabernet, which scored 92 points from Wine Enthusiast and boasts flavors of bold dark fruit and cocoa. This wine will accentuate the saltiness of the chip and round out the myriad flavors found in those layers, whatever they are.


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