Super Bowl XLIV Wine/Beverage Picks

The big game is around the corner, and whether you're entertaining or bringing your favorite snacks and beverages to your friend's house, you'll want to put your best foot forward and pair up your eats with your drinks.  You can impress your friends and make them envious of your picks.  Besides Peyton and Drew, you'll be the talk of the party!  So let's get on to some colossal pairings:

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:

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!

World's Best Nachos Paired with Wine and Beer

It was a leisurely Sunday night off of work, and I was very hungry after my

WSET Advanced


class.  I began to judge what I was in the mood for, and homemade nachos sounded great.  I have to explain: I have been making nachos at home for a long time, adding to the recipe every time.  They have come to be known as "Kitchen Sink" Nachos.  Then I started to think of what beverages I wanted to pair with them, and the plan was hatched.  Now let us get to the recipe.

Here is what you are going to need:

1/2 lb. ground beef, 1/2 lb. ground pork, 1/2 diced white onion, 4 cloves chopped garlic, chopped cilantro, 3 sliced serrano peppers, 1 diced tomato, 4 chopped scallions, 1 cup sliced black olives, 1/2 can refried black beans, 1 sliced avocado, 4 oz. cream cheese, 8 oz. package shredded mexican cheese, 2 oz. sour cream, 1 lime, your favorite salsa (I use

Old El Paso

), your favorite hot sauce (I use


), and your favorite tortilla chips (I love Chicago local

El Milagro


Next, take your onions, garlic, and 2 peppers, along with some olive oil, and pan sear them in a frying pan.  Then, throw in your beef and pork- you want to use pork because the meat gives the mixture much more flavor.  Season it with chili and cayenne powder, and finish off with half a squeezed lime and some of the cilantro.  Then drain the liquids from the pan.

Prep a baking pan with a layer of chips topped with refried beans, cream cheese, and half of your mexican cheese.  Then top it with the meat mixture and the rest of the cheese.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit, and throw in the nachos for 15 minutes.  Then top it with avocado, olives, tomato, scallions, olives, sour cream, salsa, the rest of the peppers and cilantro, more squeezed lime, and hot sauce.  Strap on the feedbag and eat!

Now for choosing a beverage.  Beer works great, but make sure you use a lager or ale.  They are light enough to be refreshing, and not overtake the chips.  I chose

Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Commodore Perry IPA

.  It has a medium weight, good bitterness, and a nice fruit-sweet finish.  Excellent for the nacho spice.  Wine is a great companion for this as well, but make sure you go with a weighty white.  Varietals with a touch of sweet fruit like riesling, pinot gris, or chenin blanc work well.  The 2007 Hogue Genesis Riesling was on sale, so I went for it.  The full lime citrus, honey, and vanilla also worked well with the nacho spice.  These beverages washed the nachos down perfectly- before you knew it, I was on the couch Al Bundy style getting ready for the season finale of HBO's

Big Love


These beverages work well with all mexican food.  Try out the recipe and post your comments!