Super Bowl of Wines

With Super Bowl XLVI right around the corner, you may be making plans to throw a gathering of friends and family.


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Maybe you're trying to figure out what to take to your party host. Or, perhaps you plan to hang out at home for a more relaxing view of the game. Whatever you choose, there's one thing for certain: Super Bowl Sunday isn't just for beer drinkers anymore!

Sure, beer has traditionally been the drink of choice for game day; but if wine is more your style, there are many varieties that pair well with football-inspired foods.

Serving subs? Ham and turkey pair well with Gewürztraminer and Syrah, while a bold Cabernet complements steak, roast beef, and meatball subs. With spicy or mustard-dressed bites, try Pinot Noir.

Chili and sloppy joes taste great with Syrah and Cabernet. Hot wings are tasty with Syrah, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and the not-so-common Viognier. (Viognier, a white variety on the rise in the United States, can be found in Michigan at Domaine Berrien Cellars of Berrien Springs and Chateau Fontaine of Lake Leelanau.)

Snacking on chips? A crisp Pinot Grigio pairs well with traditional flavors, while Merlot is tasty with onion-flavored chips or French onion dip. BBQ chips fare well with Syrah.

Tortilla chips and salsa are great with Chardonnay or Syrah. If you prefer your salsa a little fruity, go crazy with Cherry Republic's Cherry Tortilla Chips and Cherry Salsa or Brownwood Farms' Riesling Salsa. The cherry chips and cherry salsa are a perfect match with cherry wine from any number of wineries across the state. The Riesling salsa is infused with wine from Chateau Grand Traverse, so naturally it pairs well with Chateau Grand Traverse Riesling.

Nachos are great with Chardonnay, Rosé, and Viognier. Garlic-salted, cheese-, or butter-flavored popcorn is enhanced with almost any Chardonnay. And veggies and dip pair well with Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and unoaked Chardonnay.

Just looking for a crisp white wine for all-day sipping? Pinot Grigio is always a good choice. Two good options are Trillium or Fishtown White from Good Harbor Vineyards of Lake Leelanau. (Off the record, Fishtown White is rumored to be a “no hangover” wine.)

In honor of Madonna being named to headline the halftime show, maybe one of her father's wines from Ciccone Vineyard and Winery of Suttons Bay will hit the spot. Winemaker Tony Ciccone handcrafts European-style estate wines grown on Leelanau Peninsula.

And what celebration doesn't pair well with bubblies? Whether you're rooting for the Giants or the Patriots, a great sparkling wine from L. Mawby Vineyards of Suttons Bay is sure to top off your Super Bowl Sunday!

Lorri Hathaway is co-author of the award-winning From the Vine: Exploring Michigan Wineries and The History of Michigan Wines. Learn more and get autographed books at deliciousmichigan.com.
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