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De-Vine Interception: Your Wine and Game Day Food Pairing

Updated: Apr 29

I'm back at it again with a unique wine pairing experience for you all to enjoy. This time, we're running straight to the end zone and pairing wine with our favorite game day foods!

What a weird year it's been for sports. Even as the football season trucks along, it's odd to see no one in the stands wearing ridiculous face makeup. Although I guess for me, this year it's more off-putting seeing those states that do allow people to come to the games. Remember when we used to gather in large crowds?!

Like everything else in 2020, football season is anything but normal. Listening to a pre-recorded sound track of a crowd booing at the away team just hits different. But one tradition that remains consistent (thank god) is the food we eat on Sunday afternoon while cheering on our favorite team. Whether you're gathering with a small group of friends, or simply enjoying the game by yourself, no one is going to stop you from indulging in some of America's best eats.

A lot of people think that game day is reserved for beer and whiskey. But A.) that's not true because we can pair wine with any occasion. And B.) it's 2020 and like I said, nothing is normal anyways, so just lean into it, okay?!

Below are some of my wine + game day pairings to get us started on this fun journey. I can't express this enough, game day food is the best food. I'm getting hungry just writing this.

Wings + Zinfandel

Zinfandel is the perfect barbecue wine. This full-bodied red has both smoky notes and tons of fruity, jammy flavors. It would pair excellently with anything cooked in an air-fryer. And delicious, crispy, chicken wings are no exception. Douse your wings in a sweeter dipping sauce, and try it alongside a nice hearty glass of Zinfandel. Since Zin is typically very high in alcohol, this wine is also a great drink of choice if your team is losing. A few glasses of it, and you'll forget what you're even watching. You'll be getting blitzed all afternoon.

Jalapeno Poppers and Riesling

You can never go wrong with a sweet and spicy combination. If you aren't the biggest fan of sweet wine, this is a great way to introduce it to your pallet and experiment with its taste.

Simply put, when you combine a sweet drink with a spicy food, the flavor combinations cancel each other out, creating a well-balanced pairing. The wine's sweetness and the food's spiciness is toned down so neither sensation overpower the other. Try this experiment with jalapeño poppers. It's a great intro, especially since they usually contain a creamy cheese, which also bodes well against Riesling. Don't pass on this opportunity to try a great combo.

Nachos and Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is known for its sharp acidity. Nachos are known for their creamy texture. In this case, opposites absolutely attract. Putting these two flavors together makes for an amazing contrast. Somewhat like the sweet and spicy sensation, this combo helps balance out the intense acid feeling, and the thick creamy taste, leveling the playing field. Plus, I feel like the taste and texture of the salty, crunchy chips would taste good against the light white wine. But I'm just guessing on that one, don't quote me. I'm just fumbling over my words, and my thoughts are incomplete.

Artichoke Dip and Cava

Want to impress your friends with a funky sparkling wine, but you're still operating on a budget? Try Cava. It's a sparkling wine from Spain and it's amazing. And it's cheap. I picked one up from Total Wine last week for $10 and enjoyed it with my pizza.

Like many sparkling wines, it's extremely versatile when pairing with food. And it's fun to experiment with, since Cava has a more unique taste to it. Artichokes, on the other hand, are actually a very finicky food to pair wine with, but tastes delicious when enjoyed with this sparkling wine. Plus, Cava also works great alongside creamy dips and sauces. The light, crisp taste of the wine cuts the creamy texture of the dip, making this combo the MVP.

Garlic Dip and Tempranillo

One of my favorite pairing rules is "what grows together goes together." Tempranillo is an Italian red that's high in body, high in acid, high in tannins and high-is in alcohol. Just really high. It's also extremely delicious and pairs with any Italian dish. Garlic dip is a perfect choice for this single-varietal wine. Garlic is the staple of most Italian foods and a nice hearty dip would taste great against Tempranillo. It will make you feeling tail-great.

Can y'all tell that I don't really watch football? I honestly tried really hard with these puns.

What are some classic game-day foods that I missed? Let me know what you're eating for the next Monday Night Football game and I'll give you a pairing that can't be beat!

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