Before we get into the wine, I always like to have some beer onhand. It not only has that slight hoppy bitterness but is also a thirst quencher. For this Sunday I like Lagunitas "The Censored" Rich Copper Ale. It has everything you want in a beer and more. A creamy, malty flavor, slightly bitter but smooth hops, a rich copper color, a touch of citrus, caramel and brown sugar. You can find this for around $10.99/6 pack. It's also great because it pairs well with most foods you'll enjoy, including spicy ones. I love it with chili, wings and spicy chips.
Wine value picks with tough names are what's called for on Super Bowl Sunday. You should have some white onhand, in case it's called for, and I couldn't think of a better one to have than 2008 Big Fire Pinot Gris ($12.99). This grape has a great roundness to it and the wine packs the fruit in: grapefruit, tangerine and pears. You can feel honey and smell flowers in the glass, giving you no problem when the spice from hot wings comes a-knockin'!
For the reds, we'll kick off with 2007 Torres Sangre de Toro (blood of the bull), a blend of Garnacha and Cariñena ($8.99). It packs cherry and raspberry fruit flavor with cola and dried floral scents. The medium body and soft tannins are a great blend to accompany your Super Bowl chili creation. Next we aim to please our Pinot lovers with 2007 Three Saints Pinot Noir ($24.99). Even if you're not a Saints fan, you will still enjoy the blackberries, raspberries and tea notes, along with the ripe acidity. We can finish off the wine with two big, luscious examples. First off, we have 2007 Tait "The Ball Buster" Shiraz, which has big dark fruit, vanilla, oak and smooth tannins ($17.99). Also go for 2008 Owen Roe Abbot's Table ($22.99), a big blend of eight varietals, mostly Sangiovese and Zinfandel. It's a big bite of rich red and dark fruit, and ready to take on your pizza and nachos.
The most important thing to take away from the pairings is what goes well with this cuisine. You will be enjoying some spice, tomato based items (chili, pizza) and fried and greasier dishes. You will need beverages that have a touch of sweetness to put out the fire, are fruity, a lower alcohol content (usually enflames spices) and that have a touch of spice themselves to mesh with the food.
I love making my own food (especially my World's Best Nachos), especially for big events. I will have to include my wings and pizza recipes later, but in the meantime, I will give out some of my favorite vendors:
- Wings: The 50/Fifty, Hooter's (any!), Wings Around the World, Take Me Out and Wingstop (Roscoe Village).
- Pizza (order): Phil's, Home Run Inn, Freddies and Brick's. Get Ranalli's late night (til 4am). Freddy's in Cicero has the best pizza by the slice in Chicagoland.
- Chili: Ramova Grill, Lindy's (Brighton Park), Honky Tonk BBQ (beef brisket Chili Mac!), and Chili Mac's.
No matter what you pick, remember to drink responsibly, don't mix it with driving, and have a great time. Any event that you get together with people you like is a sure to be a great time, so make sure it is positive from start to finish. Have fun!