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Wine lovers don’t have to be left out for the Super Bowl

By Catherine Rabb
Catherine Rabb
Catherine Rabb is co-owner of Fenwick's and an associate instructor at Johnson & Wales University.

The last big football game of the season is coming up Sunday. Panthers fans will want to watch with something to sip as we console ourselves and wait for our big win next year.

The snack mixes, wings and pizza that are game-watching staples certainly pair well with beer. But what wine to serve on game day?

It’s not the time to break out the special-event wines, but to choose something fun, affordable and food-friendly that is just as festive as a game day party. You can find these easy-to-drink styles just about everywhere, and the prices are great. I’ve included a few suggestions, all less than $15 and widely available. But they are just the start. There are lots of fun, user-friendly wines.

Red-wine drinkers will have an easy time this year. This is the year of the fruity and fun red blend. There is a dizzying selection of this style available. Smooth and easy to drink with bright fruit flavors, red blends offer a lot of fruit-forward flavor for the price.

Brands like Radius red blend from Washington, HiJinx red from Paso Robles, Calif., and Once Upon a Vine’s red blend from California are approachable and tasty with burgers or ribs.

For white-wine lovers, something zippy and refreshing is perfect with salty, spicy snacks. Try a crisp sauvignon blanc, a pinot grigio, or an un-oaked chardonnay. Coppola pinot grigio or Robert Mondavi fume blanc are nice choices.

A glass of slightly sweet, fruity bubbles is terrific with chips and guacamole. Save the high-end bubbles for Valentine’s Day, but consider a bit of affordable sparkling wine either alone for bubble fans or mixed with fruit juice.

Try a twist on a mimosa by using both pineapple juice and orange juice, and add a drop of raspberry liqueur. Chateau Ste. Michelle and Gloria Ferrer both produce delicious sparklers at value price points.

Need something fun for the crowd that you can serve in a punch bowl? Make sangria. Terrific with food, sangria is a staple in tapas-loving Spain, but is just as good with American-style wings and pizza.

Use either white or red wine, add fresh fruit, a shot of brandy, and let the flavors marry for a few hours.

Catherine Rabb is co-owner of Fenwick’s and a senior instructor at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte. Email: Catherine.rabb@jwu.edu.
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