Wines That Go Well With Super Bowl Food



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For many Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is all about beer.

Pittsburgh, with its pierogies and deli sandwiches, seems like a beer kind of town, and Arizona calls to mind margaritas. But Gary Vaynerchuk, host of and proprietor of the Wine Library in New Jersey, says there's another option to wash down your Super Bowl snacks.

Instead of raising a stein in the first quarter, he suggests pairing your macho nachos with a suave chardonnay or popping open a nice citrusy wine to complement those buffalo wings. Plus, he says, you don't have to break the bank to serve good wine.

"Price has no impact on the quality of wine," Vaynerchuk says. "So a lot of times, people don't think about wine for a Super Bowl because they don't want to serve junk but they can't spend a fortune because it's expensive. ... And don't forget people don't drink as many glasses of wine as beers."

Vaynerchuk tells Scott Simon that over the past decade, more and more people are bringing wine to football games and tailgate parties.

"Five years ago, you started seeing some wines come in, maybe a gallon of Carlo Rossi," he says. "But over the last two or three years, the wines that people use are astonishing to me — Silver Oaks and Cakebreads and Chateau Margauxs. Wine has become a much bigger part of our culture."

And many football fans have realized there are a lot of great wines that pair well with "football food."

Some people might shy away from drinking wine because they think it's "foofy-foofy, it's serious, you have to learn a lot," Vaynerchuk says.

His advice? Trust your own palate and don't focus so much on what the experts recommend.

"I like mangoes and escargot and White Castle sliders," he says, "and unless you like all three of those, we have a different palate."

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You know, for many Americans, Super Bowl Sunday is about beer, but that's not how our next guest sees it. Gary Vaynerchuk is the proprietor and thehost of He also runs the Wine Library in New Jersey. He's a friend of our programs. He's also the world's ranking New York Jets fan, and boy, they could use a fan right about now, aren't they?

Mr. GARY VAYNERCHUK (Host, Wine Library TV): I love being known as the ranking number one Jets fan, I'll take it. Better than being the wine guy.

SIMON: Let's see what you recommend for some specific things a lot of people are going to be serving at Super Bowl parties, OK.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Sure, OK, fire away.

SIMON: Nachos.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Nachos. We're going to go with a wine called Paso a Paso, and you should see these glasses we have. These are tremendous.

SIMON: They're French jelly-jar glasses.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yes. Paso A Paso, it's a 100 percent Verdejo from Spain, high acid, eight to ten bones a bottle and a wine that would go tremendous with not only nachos but if you are using guacamole, as well. First, a sniffy sniff.

SIMON: Yeah. OK.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: You got to smell the wine.

SIMON: All right.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: All right? What are you picking up on the nose? Are you getting acacia flowers at all?

SIMON: Oh, I wouldn't have said that, but yeah. I am, come to think of it, now that you've put it in my mind. Yeah. I was going to say wheat grass.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: There is a grassiness component to it, a little bit like a slice of lemon, almost what you'd put on the top of - a lemon peel on top of your espresso. So there's a little bit of a citrus play here, as well. Now give it a whirl. Wait till you see what the acid does.

SIMON: Oh, I like that! Mmm. That is great for nachos. Oh, wow!

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I mean, to me - you're impressed, right? And you know why? Because it's got a lime component, and I think a lot of people like that.

SIMON: That is great. It's even got a nice label, you know?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: And it's green, so like the Jets. So that makes me happy.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: It is kind of Jets green, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yes, a little bit. Let's move on.


Mr. VAYNERCHUK: What else you got?

SIMON: They're not in the Super Bowl this year, but let's say, you know, Buffalo wings.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: You got it. Let's go to the red wine glass. I'll pour this for you. I've got an interesting play here. This comes from Chile. This is an $8 bottle of wine. Again, you know, price has no impact on the quality of wine, so a lot of times people don't think about wine for Super Bowl because they don't want to serve junk, but they can't spend a fortune because it's expensive. I mean, what are you going to, have wine for 40 people?

SIMON: So that's when they get...

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Coors Light is easier. And don't forget, people don't drink as many glasses of wine as beers. So there is an absolute value play even in an economy like this to serve good wine and still make a smart budget play in comparison to beer and have great food and wine pairings.

So what this is is the Cantus, C-A-N-T-U-S, Carmenere. It's a grape a lot of people have not had a lot of experience with out there. It's one of the original Bordeaux grapes, but it's really made a home and a name for itself in the last five years in Chile. I'm curious to see when you think here.

SIMON: Black cherry?


SIMON: There's a little - there's another something...

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: A basily(ph) green pepper component, right?

SIMON: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: It's got - so it's got like cherries but it got greenness to it.

SIMON: Yeah, yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Which I like. I'm a big vegetable guy.

SIMON: Ah, that's very tasty.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Do you like it?

SIMON: Yeah, I do, that's light. That's nice, yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: This is interesting to me because you have to be a big fan of pomegranate. I mean, do you get it? There's a pomegranate base here, a little chocolate action.

SIMON: It's really good. You know, I'm thinking of, like, with the Buffalo wings, that'd really be good. That is kind of like stop it cold, you know?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I think so, too. You know, for a meatier, kind of chicken play, I think that this black fruit and that pomegranate little cranberry on that mid-palate that you get, and then that shaved Snickers kind of milk-chocolaty feel. It's got the length and the creaminess, I think, to match up with that kind of food.

SIMON: All right. What about chili?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Chili is a tough play, and really - because there's so many variations out there. Believe it or not, I actually...

SIMON: Oh yeah, because I mean, now they make wild boar chili, that sort of thing. I had wild boar chili in Texas. Thank you.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: I'm going to go somewhere pretty interesting on this. I've done this before. It's thrown people for a loop. I actually recommend Chardonnay for chili a lot of times, but not the oak monster, that scary thing that comes out of California a lot when they over-oak the Chardonnay. No, we're recommending a Tripoz Macon from the Macon region in Burgundy, in White Burgundy, 100 percent Chardonnay. Again, a $12 wine from T-R-I-P-O-Z is the (unintelligible) Tripoz.

SIMON: We're going to sniffy sniff now, right?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: We're sniffy snipping, yeah, you get it.

SIMON: Something almost like lemon and celery.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: You know what's funny? I got a lot of celery on this wine.

SIMON: Yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: A lot. I also get a little bit of a fig component on the nose.

SIMON: I like it. Nice finish. Is that what we say? Nice finish?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yeah. I think it's a little hollow in the mid-palate, but you know what I'm getting? A lot of pineapple on the back end. Are you getting it? It's almost like Dole. I mean, just like Dole juice, like the pineapples were taken out and...

SIMON: That's what it is, yeah.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Right? Isn't it wild? It's really heavy. I don't even remember it having this much.

SIMON: This could be a good breakfast wine.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yeah, breakfast wine...

SIMON: My father-in-law looks for a breakfast wine.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Everybody just got excited. There's a lot of people who have need some breakfast wine.

SIMON: Gary, always a pleasure me taking to you. OK?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: It's a real pleasure.

SIMON: Thanks very much. Gary Vaynerchuk. By the way, you can also find a link to Gary on our Web site, Of course, you can also him in person at the Wine Library in Springfield, New Jersey. Why bother with midtown Manhattan when they can come and see you in New Jersey?

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Or at the parking lot of Giant Stadium, any football Jets home game.

SIMON: Oh, right. You'll be there, too, come to think of it.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Yes, I'll be there too.

SIMON: Thanks very much, Gary.

Mr. VAYNERCHUK: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.