The Super Bowl should essentially be considered an American holiday. In fact, I know a lot of people who essentially make the day after the Super Bowl a holiday by talking PTO. Even non-NFL watchers tend to at least turn mild attention towards the big game. If nothing else, the commercials are funny and the half time show (this year Jennifer Lopez + Shakira) is sometimes rocking and sometimes controversial.
It’s also a good reason to get people together and make good food. (Or, get people together and make a lot of food that’s really bad for you but justified when it’s once a year ‘Super Bowl food.’)
Last year, when the Patriots played the Rams, we themed our Super Bowl get together “East vs. West wines” and faced off two Merlots – one from California and a Kosher wine from the Middle East. We like both, but slightly favored the Kosher wine “Yarden” according to my notes!
We also ate amazing, home made, artisan pizzas. You can revisit those recipes here.
This year, the Kansas City Chiefs face off against the San Francisco 49s, and while I don’t really have a horse in the race to cheer for, I’m a big fan of the food/wine face off this match up presents. Our plans are coalescing, and you better believe they will feature Kansas City BBQ with a Napa Valley Red Wine.
Sometimes, you just need to fully embrace the obvious pairing!
Kansas City BBQ is typified by dry rubbed, smoked meats, smothered in a thick tomato based sauce that is balanced between sweet and spicy.
Napa Valley is typified by 100s of wines and wineries, so picking the perfect Super Bowl bottle casts a wide net. With pulled pork, my mind immediately goes Zinfandel. Then I read somewhere that the 49’s released a commemorative wine bottle for the Super Bowl, and it was a Cabernet.
Here’s one of each to satisfy either impulse!
Saldo Zinfandel has routinely caught my attention on the shelf or in the bins at the wine store because of the simplicity of its label/bottle design. As you can tell from the image, this is not a wine that’s trying to be flashy, or sell you anything based on its label. If you can’t judge a book by its cover, then you can’t judge this wine by anything before you open it as there’s barely a cover to consider.
Though I’ve looked at this wine many times, it strikes me as a perfect pick this weekend as wine magazine called it: “The perfect wine for anyone that has a California preferenced palette. Period.” So for a wine that represents the entire state and (one of) its football team this weekend, let’s go with something that is the epitome of CA Zinfandel.
What to expect when you open the bottle. Saldo means “Balance,” and there’s plenty of that! Fruit forward flavor with rich, jammy notes of blackberry and black cherry. There is a slight oakiness, but it’s well balanced with a little earthiness and spice. The wine is slightly dry, but also “juicy” with a little edge that will make your mouth water. It came recommended to pair with pizza or chili, both excellent Super Bowl foods in their own right, but is probably a good choice with just about any tomato based or spicy meal.
Save Me San Francisco California 37 Cabernet Sauvignon is really just a fun pick because it’s got “San Francisco” in the title, and thus is particularly “themey.” This is from the Save Me San Francisco winery affiliated with the band ‘Train’ which sounds kind of gimmicky. In reality, they’ve made some really good, award winning wines.
The Cabernet Sauvignon has been reviewed numerous places as a good “BBQ party” wine, so it’s a natural choice for our Super Bowl food pairing. It’s dry and slightly acidic, good to cut through rich smokey meats and the sweet tang of BBQ sauce. Decant first to calm down some of the tannins and bitterness, but when allowed to breath, it’s really well balanced and smooth on the finish. At about $10 a bottle, and often marked down a few $$$, the price is usually right on this wine as well!