The New England Patriots won’t be in Sunday’s NFL Super Bowl Championship game but there’s still plenty to cheer about.
This is one day, like the Fourth of July, that is strictly an all-American event. Even if one doesn’t like savage, concussion-rocking football, it is a time to gather with friends and family to watch the game, cringe at outrageously expensive TV commercials and throw a party.
I could care less if the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos win the game, which will be played in the teeth-shattering cold of New Jersey. Yet I will watch it in the warm embrace of my home, the Wine Goddess and Bella the cat within arm’s length of me and the plate of beef-and-chicken fajitas with guacamole, that I will be enjoying from kickoff to fumble recovery and everything in between, beginning at 6:30 p.m. (EST).
I have no exact data, but I imagine in a nation of 330 million people, there will be 20 million to 30 million Super Bowl house parties taking place. Neighborhood crime should go down while beer and wine consumption go up.
It’s a relaxing thought.
Before I announce my Wine Novice All-Wine Super Bowl Team, here are pouring suggestions for your Sunday fare from Andrea DiFiore, the store and wine manager at Andover Liquors in Shawsheen Plaza, and Richard (Wine Wizard) Rourke of Tutto Bene Wine & Cheese Cellar in Lowell.
Food Pairing: Baby back ribs
• DiFiore: Carol Shelton Monga Zinfandel 2010, $21.99 — Very bright pomegranate cherry fruit, brown sugary-caramel oak with fragrant Asian spices. Mouthfeel is still a bit young and chewy, but quite drinkable now … Robert Hall Rhone de Robles 2011, $19.99 — Aroma is bursting with fresh cherry and hints of black pepper and spice. The color is deep ruby red. This Rhone-style blend is a flavorful food wine and delicately balanced by rich, silky tannins.
• ROURKE — Airfield Bombshell Red Blend, $17.99 — Dark, overlapping aromas of plum, blackberry and a hint of cocoa. Nice lingering flavors of dark fruit and toasted oak on the palate.
Food Pairing: Nachos
• DIFIORE: Portteus Rouge 66 2012, $14.99 — A Washington State blend of all five classic red Bordeaux varieties! — Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petite Verdot. Black currant, blackberry, loganberry and licorice-like flavors with an elegantly smooth finish and soft tannins.
• ROURKE: Finca Resalso Tempranillo, $14.99 — Garnet-colored wine with intense violet rim. The nose revels in aromatic intensity with a presence of black fruits, mulberry, blueberry and licorice. Subtle oak produces hints of cocoa and vanilla.
Food Pairing: Chinese/Asian
• DIFIORE: Chateau Moncontour Vouvray 2011, $15.99 — A intensely aromatic nose typical of excellent Chenin Blanc. The full fruit flavors of green apple evolve to quince and pear on the palate. Finish shows an excellent balance between acidity, slight sweetness.
• ROURKE: Milbrandt Vineyards Riesling, $12.99 — A well-balanced Riesling with aromas and flavors of Alberta peaches, grapefruit, and enticing lychee fruit. A nice touch of minerality bring a crisp, clean finish.
Food Pairing: Pizza
• DIFIORE: Vietti Barbera D’Asti Tre Vigne, 2011, $19.99 — An aromatic and flavorful feast of violet, lavender, dried leaves, incense, vanilla and nutmeg. Light tannins and great acidity marry tomato-based pizza in superb fashion.
• ROURKE: Colonnare Lyricus Rosso Piceno, $12.99 — A Montepulciano and Sangiovese blend produces an intense ruby color with scents of Morel, mature peach and plums. A dry, warm and fresh taste and sufficiently tannic.
My All-Wine Super Bowl Team is dominated by “players” from out west. For grilled meats, nachos and pizza dishes, I’m putting my money on Zinfandel, Syrah and Petit Sirah from California, Oregon and Washington State. For spicy Asian fare, it’s Riesling and Gewurztraminer.
• Syrah: Fess Parker Santa Barbara County ($28), J. Lohr Paso Robles South Ridge ($15), L’Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Valley Estate Seven Hills ($35), Qupe Central Coast ($19.99) and Snoqualine Columbia Valley ($10, if you can find it)
• Petite Sirah: Discoveries Vineyard ($13.99), Handcraft Artisan Collection ($10)
• Zinfandel: Seghesio ($24), Ravenswood Tedeschi Vineyard ($33), Nanna’s Shortcake ($12.99), Klinker Brick Old Vine ($16.99).
• Riesling: Eroica ($22), Chateau St. Michelle ($15), Hogue ($12)
• Gewurtztraminer: Hogue ($10)
And the Super Bowl winner is … Seattle.