Simple Super Bowl wine choices: Lead with confidence

According to Super Bowl XLVII By The Numbers (via @digtriad), “Americans will consume an estimated 50 million cases of beer on Super Bowl Sunday. For those counting at home, that’s 1.2 billion beers.” So with over 325,000,000 gallons of beer washing down tons of junk food, BBQ wings, chili and pizza, are any of you willing to stand up against a sea of hop lovers to pour, swirl and sip from the vine?

Food and Wine editor Ray Isle (@islewine) quipped this morning on Twitter, “…it takes a brave soul to open some wine.”

Be sure to include wine for your informal Super Bowl party. Central California coast wines like Ancient Peaks Zinfandel provide an excellent beverage alternative to bring your own beer.
Be sure to include wine for your informal Super Bowl party. Central California coast wines like Ancient Peaks Zinfandel provide an excellent beverage alternative to bring your own beer.

Cultural traditions create closeness and the NFL’s Super Sunday has become a national holiday, heck an icon, for Americans, galvanizing communities regardless of race, age, political preferences or religion. For one Sunday a year, most can put aside bias and prejudices to gather in a sometimes unlikely consortium to cheer and debate over the pride and bragging rights of two cities.

Then, for the sake of the underdogs amongst you, be strong and courageous. The fruit of the vine has every right to be in that living or family room, den, community center and converted garage. While Anheuser-Busch, Budwieser, and the MillerCoors family of beers and/or a plethora of micro beers are most likely to fill the coolers, a glass of wine most certainly fits well with Super snacks.

On Feb. 1, 2013, Isle posted his Best wines for Super Bowl snacks as part of CNN’s Eatocracy page. And to take this just a bit further, I want to add my suggestions for those looking to serve BBQ wings, chili and nachos. The following choices should be easily purchased even today at your local grocer or may even be buried in your wine closets.

The Adobe Red is a proprietary Zinfandel-based blend with effusive aromas of cherry spice, blackberry and pepper, with hints of brambles and plum.
The Adobe Red is a proprietary Zinfandel-based blend with effusive aromas of cherry spice, blackberry and pepper, with hints of brambles and plum.

The following are easy drinking, inexpensive wines meant to wash down party foods. For goodness sake, save your best occasion vino for $100 meals at destination restaurants. However, even a wine connoisseur can enjoy simple wines. Be sure to open the bottles a couple of hours before serving at room temperature.

Zinfandel blends:

2009 Clayhouse Adobe Red Zinfandel-based blend: The 2009 Clayhouse Adobe Red is a flavor fusion of 32% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Syrah, 13% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah and 9% Petit Verdot. The blend has overtones of cherry and blackberry which dominate the palate. Spices and pepper linger with hints of branbles and plum. The finish is balanced with vanilla and oak characteristics.

2009 Phantom by Bogle Vineyards: This California blend of 52% Zinfandel, 46% Petite Sirah and 2% Mourvèdre, has some spice to it along with rich black raspberries and briary boysenberries in a full-bodied wine with hints of cedar and juniper.

Zinfandel

The 2010 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel is a classic bottle from Sonoma County. The spicy, lush black fruit of Alexander Valley offers up briary and raspberry flavors, along with structure, of cooler Dry Creek Valley. Take the time to enjoy the mocha, tobacco, leather and exotic spices in this fabulous 100% Zinfandel wine.

Earning “Steal of the Year” honors in Sunset Magazine, 93 points in Wine Spectator and a San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Wine of The Year, the 2010 Ancient Peaks Zinfandel is rooted in their estate Margarita Vineyard. This Ancient Peaks offering is 100% Zinfandel offers vibrant aromas of crushed raspberry and blueberry with a dash of sweet oak. Bright, juicy flavors of raspberry, boysenberry and black cherry anticipate notes of cola and spice. A smoky vanilla note joins luscious acidity on a rich, jammy finish.

Cabernet blends

2009 Tres Sabores ‘Por Que No’ Zinfandel blend: This Napa red is from St. Helena and is a bistro and BBQ favorite. If you have yet to try this blend of 53% Zinfandel, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petite Sirah, & 1% Petit Verdot, I say Why Not! enjoy its dark red blend. The juicy, mild raspberry and blueberries flavors and has hints of black pepper give Por Que No its party favorite label. This bottle needs to be on your ‘go to’ list.

Wine Spectator consistently gives The Prisoner between 90-93 points since 2003 and has been a Top 100 wine fixture since 2007.
Wine Spectator consistently gives The Prisoner between 90-93 points since 2003 and has been a Top 100 wine fixture since 2007.

Orin Swift’s The Prisoner 2010 Napa Valley Red wine is reminiscent of wines first made by Italian immigrants who originally settled the Napa Valley. The wine has a dense red and black hue that is framed in vibrant crimson. Look for black currant, dark blackberry, cherry, and cassis rounded out by subtle hints of seasoned French and American oak. The finish is long, lingering and filled with soft velvety tannins lasting for nearly thirty seconds. The blend is 44% Zinfandel, the 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 2% Charbono and 1% Grenache; this gives the wine soft, integrated tannins which allow it to be approachable now and with a pleasant finish. Wine Spectator consistently gives The Prisoner between 90-93 points since 2003 and has been a Top 100 wine fixture since 2007.

Now I want to go on record to say a good bottle of beer like a Russian River Brewing Company’s double IPA Pliny The Elder can add so much to tasty eats. And there is nothing wrong with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Pivo Pils, Red Stripe Jamaican Lager, Dos Equis Dark Lager or a Waldhaus Spezial Gold lager from Germany.

However, there are so many great wines available today for backyard BBQs and informal parties. Don’t be intimidated by those only tipping the smaller bottles. I know you have a favorite beer too but don’t be afraid to uncork a bottle of wine at a casual event. The party is a food event and that is exactly what wine is meant to enhance.

For those who only watch the game for the commercials, here are the 18 best Super Bowl beer commercials (VIDEO) as reposed by FoxNews.com.

If I haven’t convinced you to add wines to your beverage list, there are other options besides the classic Super Bowl beer list from the top two providers. You might check out BeerAdvocate’s Top 250 list. They list many of the most popular, thirst stopping and taste-bud numbing beers, including web sites and availability. Let me know which is on your list.

Read the Jan. 26, 2013, The Grape Tray reopens in Fresno’s Opus I Center to check out the latest post. For other blog entries, use the top menu bar to scroll through more Talesofthecork.com stories. Or start with one the past articles like Caliza Winery: Bowker turns horticultural focus into viticulture dream.

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