Sunday, February 6, 2011

Solving Your Last Minute Super Bowl Wine Issues

Yeah, this is really a post about wine. It's not only Sunday, but Super Bowl Sunday. I'm ditching Meet the Press for the local public radio jazz station, debating whether to read the paper, and having little interest in writing about the latest social media scamming lawyer on the internet, injustice of the Bar or debating how technology can change your life.

Let's talk wine.

You've got the chips, the wings, the meat is ready for the grill, the beer is chilled, and you just realized your collection of crap wine that people brought you at your last party 4 years ago may not suffice. That, or you know nothing about wine and fear you may open something that makes the wine snob at your super bowl party say "you have any beer?"

Don't worry. I will take care of you. I always do. I will give you recommendations, and all in a price range that will make the unemployed millenial and faux wino not think twice about running to the grocery store.

First though, a confession:

I don't think wine goes with football.

But on to the pairings and recommendations:

In general:

[1] Do not open more than 2 bottles (one white, one red) for every 10 people.

[2] Let the white warm up for 20 minutes before drinking.

(Every time I say this, some whiny girl says "but I liiike my white cold.") I know, because you've never tried it when warmed up a little. I'm not talking room temperature - although that will bring you in to a new dimension of taste - I'm talking about it not being consumed right out of the refrigerator. The flavor of white wine is enhanced when it's warmed up a bit. So be a little patient.

[3] Open your reds at 3 p.m.

Even your cheap reds will taste a bit better - even if they're still terrible because you're too cheap to buy something decent.

[4] Don't open expensive wine unless you have people that appreciate good wine.

Be cheap, and be proud. Nothing is worse than opening that $50 California Cab you brought back from Napa, only to watch your idiot friends and family pour it like they're getting soda from a fountain and trying to fill it to the top, and then saying "it's OK" when you ask if they like it.

If you have a bunch of non-wino's coming over, save the good stuff, screw them. You'll be happier. Trust me on this.

[5] No bottom shelf magnums

No matter how cheap you want to be, can we please stop with the Woodbridge and Frontera magnums?


[6] This last general recommendation is a little trick I use if you're putting out really good wine and want to have more than a glass for yourself. So keep it between us.

When you invite people over for sports, they generally like to have a cup they can easily hold and put down and pick up. Wine glasses do not provide the same ease of use as let's say, a Solo plastic cup.

Give your guests a Solo cup and offer them a soda or beer, or mixed drink. THIS IS IMPORTANT - have a bottle of vodka or rum in clear view. Get them filled up and then you can make your move.

Don't put out any wine glasses, and put the "good bottle" in an accessible but not -so-close-to-the-crowd place. You grab a wine glass and pour some. People will see this as "you're drinking wine," and generally won't ask for a glass. Obviously offer some to that one or two winos at the party.


[1] Albarino

This Spanish white is rich and goes fantastically (not sure if that's an appropriate wine term) with flavored chips. I highly recommend pairing with the Tostitos Tequila Lime Chips.

Albarino is generally $10-$13

[2] Riesling

You just can't have a plate of shrimp and crackers and hummus out without a few bottles of this crowd pleaser. Women love it, guys won't admit that they do to, and the bottles are muy cute.

You can find a great Riesling for $10. Look for some from Washington State.

This Washington Hills Riesling is $9 at Total Wine.

[3] Sauvignon Blanc - FROM NEW ZEALAND

You like grapefruit? Citrus? you have $15? Get some. This is where the screwtops shine. Kim Crawford (Costco), White Haven. You will thank me profusely.

[4] Pinot Noir

I'm not a big pinot fan, so when I like it, trust me it's good. Belle Glos, maker of $40 and up pinots, graces us with their entry level Meomi. $18. (Costco). You'll love it.

[5] Bar-b-que?


Spicy. Interesting. Great with that slab of ribs you've been dousing in spices for 2 days.

Zen of Zin is about $10. It's ok, not great, but fine for the crowd. By the time they're on the Zin, hopefully they've had enough where it doesn't matter. Good Zin can cost $25 or more. But be careful with Zin. As with any wine, I'm not a big fan of buying from producers that make more than two varieties of wine. Stay away from producers that make five types of wine, and Zin.


Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.Share/Save/Bookmark


shg said...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your wine advice. Without your help, I would never know about wines in the $10/screw off top category.

But what if I'm making nachos, with both pulled pork and jalapenos? You kinda left me hanging in this critical niche.

My Law License said...

SHG, while I allowed your comment to post, knowing that the only reason you did was to have your name here so that potential clients would call you to hire you for legal representation, I will answer your question.

First, only 3 of the wines I mentioned are screw top (I think).

Second, complicated nachos are best eaten with a strong white. I recommend the Albarino.

I hope I was able to assist in your efforts to host a spectacular super bowl party, even if it is just for you, in your den, alone.

Unknown said...

Please do not drink and drive, from Brian's house. you may spill your wine.

But if you do commit such a zinn. Call me Eric Schwartzreich. I work during the superbowl.
954 873 8228

My Law License said...

Yes, I have assigned Eric to take all calls from people during the Super Bowl. If they can't hire me, well, no one defines "second best" like my pal Eric.