1/31/2013 03:41:00 PM

Super Bowl Wine: What To Pair With Nachos, Pizza and Other Game Day Grub

Sommelier Kerrie O'Brien shares her Super Bowl wine picks 
Sure, beer has long been football’s drink of choice, but there’s no reason you can’t class up this year’s Super Bowl soiree with some wine pairings. (An appropriate suggestion with the San Francisco 49ers playing, no?) As the sommelier of NYC's DBGB (which is part of the Daniel Boulud empire) , Kerrie O'Brien is an expert in matching wines to fried foods, sausages and burgers. She gave us her top pairing picks, guaranteed to knock your party out of the park – or into the end zone.

Overall, O’Brien recommends that you stick to bubbles, low alcohol whites and light bodied, high acid reds – wines that won’t overwhelm the palate. “The game is long, so you have to keep your palate fresh for the long haul.”

Chips and Salsa 
When eating something salty, look for a wine with a little sweetness to balance it out. (Think chocolate-covered pretzels.) O’Brien is a big fan of Brooklyn’s Red Hook Winery Riesling from the Finger Lakes, and notes the “nice apple and pear fruit, but great acidity.”

For a dish with a lot of competing flavors, O’Brien looks for a wine with complexity, like a Spanish white. Her go-to white is the López de Heredia Vina Gravonia, which she praises for its nice acidity and complex “pear skin and nutty” flavors.

Spicy Sausage 
To balance the spice, opt for something fruit-focused, like a Vouvray or a Montlouis-sur-Loire. Looking to save? One of O’Brien’s favorite “good value” wines is the Pierre Boniface Apremont. “It’s clean as a whistle, has some nice orchard fruit, but it’s cool mountain air in a glass with great acidity. It gives you a little bit of fruit but finishes really clean.”

Sloppy Joes 
For heavy seasonings like barbecue, you need a wine that can stand up to the spice without being alcoholic or tannic. Franck Balthazar Côte Du Rhône does just that. “It has a great prickle on the tongue that keeps the palate alive, and has really nice, wild garrigue notes.”

“When I want a nice, spicy, floral red, I go for Sicilian Reds,” says O’Brien. The Graci Etna Rosso, a Nerello Mascalese, is “super floral, really aromatic, has a nice mineral streak and finishes with a really good palate cleansing acidity.”

Fried Chicken 
When eating anything fried, turn to sparkling wine. “It’s refreshing, like a palate cleanser,” says O’Brien. She suggests trying bubbles from outside of Champagne, such as the Tissot Cremant du Jura.


  1. Good read! We looked at some wine pairing tips for Super Bowl foods as well on our blog. It was pretty fun. Not many people think of pairing up wines with traditional sports food fare, but why shouldn't you?! Drink what you love!

    Thanks again.

  2. Or drink these - wines made by ex football players and coaches! http://grapefriend.com/2013/02/01/super-bowl-of-grapes/

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