To quote Shania Twain: You must be joking, right? Wine and football appear to be at opposite ends of the entertainment spectrum, both appealing to very distinctive audiences and almost never the twain shall meet.
Except in California. Here you'll find Grandmas on roller blades sporting spandex while texting their posse as they glide through the beach traffic. Dogs riding a surfboard are blasé.
We also drink wine with football. Given that we'll drink wine for virtually any occasion, it's not surprising to find a bottle of wine at a gridiron gathering.
The only dilemma a wine drinker faces during football season is what to pair with all those greasy, fattening, pedestrian munchies that cover tables.... the table not in front of the television, that is. A word of advice for football newbies: never -EVER - stand in front of the television screen blocking the view of any gridiron fan.
Assuming you take this advice to heart, you'll do just fine. You don't even have to know the language being spoken. Most football fans are as gregarious as Donald Trump when it comes to showing their depth of knowledge in the sport. Ask questions. If you are female, you can even get away with dumb questions if you act very interested in the answer.
However, another word of caution: do not ask random questions during instant replay challenges. This time is reserved for diehard fans to discuss multiple camera “angles” and to argue with on screen pundits and amongst themselves. It is wise to let them do this without interference.
Nitro to mild, chicken wings are likely to make an appearance at your football gala. Dipped in gooey blue cheese or ranch, they pose a unique challenge to wine pairing: do you pair with the chicken, the sauce or the dressing?
There are many ways to tackle a successful pairing here. Spicy chicken wings are great with a chilled Viognier to enhance the chicken's flavor while mellowing the spice on your palate. Wings tossed in a mild herb based olive oil sauce with ranch dressing for dipping would be perfect teamed up with an herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc.
BBQ style wings pair well with good red table wine or a Sangiovese. Or Merlot. Or Barbera. Basically, you can't go wrong here with a fruit forward, lower tannin red wine.
For a winning combination, up the ante to showcase flavors included in the wing sauce itself. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec often feature tobacco smokiness that melds nicely with a smoky sauced batch of wings, fresh off the Weber Grill. Fruity barbecue sauce slathered on meaty wings with Syrah or a jammy Zinfindel is a match that could entice John Madden to drop by your tail gate party.
Closet wine ice cubers can breathe a sigh of relief. A football party is one of the few venues where one can drink wine with ice cubes floating in the glass, and no one will say a word or toss an askance look of horror.
Until you pour a glass of that luscious double gold medal Counoise left sitting on the counter and plop a few cubes into it.
At that point, you are on your own.... backing deeper into enemy territory as you flail for an out. Hence it is best to use caution even in this non-hostile environment when mixing ice and wine.
With football games dominating the landscape Thursday through Monday during football season, there are multiple opportunities to illustrate your wine and football pairing chops. Entertain and amuse friends with your unique take on food and wine match-ups. Some will be matches made in heaven, and others may take a penalty flag. The point is to have fun and to learn from the experience.
A Craveyon CloudWines subscription is your new best friend when it comes to wines that pair exceedingly well with football fare. Each is selected by member vote, and every wine is chosen on the basis of its drinkability, so there's never any worry about it being too young or “over the hill.”
Crave events are held weekly and are free to attend by anyone 21 and older. Taste the wide selection of wine currently available and chat with members. We look forward to clinking glasses with you at our next fun event.