Nail these Clutch Super Bowl Pairings

It’s estimated that the US loses $4 billion in productivity due to the post-Super Bowl, um, we’ll say absenteeism 😉. There’s a movement afoot to make the Monday after the big game a holiday, but until that day comes, we say don’t let that productivity perish in vain. 

The best way to do that is by savoring every sip we take on Super Bowl Sunday—which means having perfect pairings at the ready. 

Pizza & Wings

Unless you’ve got big money riding on the coin toss (we take home team, heads, every year) the most exciting pre-game moment comes when you’re assessing the spread—and we consider any party without pizza AND wings a Leon Lett-sized Super Bowl blunder. We’ll take an icy German Riesling to cool off the Frank’s Red Hot on the wings, and while we’ll be happy to see a great NY-style pie on the table, we’ll be thrilled if there’s a Tuscan or Argentine red somewhere in the room. Be sure to get a good amount of food in your belly early: As the head coaches are likely telling the teams in the locker rooms, this is gonna be a long day. 

2018 Frank John Riesling Pfalz – $35 

2018 Marcelo Pelleriti Malbec Signature Uco Valley Mendoza – $20 

2018 Tenuta Loacker Valdifalco Morellino di Scansano Tuscany – $23

Six-Foot Subs & Chips

“A few more feet, and I can fit it in the fridge.”  –Homer Simpson

We don’t recommend you take down a leftover sub by yourself like Homer, but we do recommend taking part of whatever the sub, hoagie, or grinder—all Super Bowl standbys—has to offer. Since a table-length sando could contain anything from mild turkey and cheese to spicy salami, your wine, like a defense trying to contain Jalen Hurts, must be ready for anything. That’s why we’d opt for lively high-acid whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Ribolla Gialla, as well as do-it-all reds like Pinot Noir and the underrated Valdiguié.

Tacos & Nachos

“We gotta match their intensity.” -Every football coach ever

Who knew that what our crew-cutted coach shouted in our faces before our high school games would come in handy in the wine world? Well, turns out that intensity-matching is just as essential at your Super Bowl soirée as it is on the gridiron. That’s why when dealing with spicy foods like nachos and tacos, we opt for wines that can hold the line. It doesn’t necessarily mean brawn: the strong grassiness of a nice, ripe Sauvignon Blanc will do the trick. So will an acid-rich Riesling or a smoky, perfectly aged Spanish Red.  

2018 Smith-Madrone Riesling Spring Mountain – $32 

2019 Hoopes Family Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Atlas Peak Napa Valley – $45 

2014 Bodegas Manzanos Azagra Voche Seleccion Graciano Rioja Reserva – $18.99 

Burgers & Hot Dogs

We’ve all got ‘em: football friends who pride themselves on being too salt-of-the-earth to partake in a craft beer, let alone engage with the highbrow wine world. But we firmly believe that once our blue-collar buddies chase a juicy burger or hot dog with a Rhône or Napa red, they’ll never go back to Natural Light.


You’ve only got two hands. One is holding a floppy paper plate laden with cocktail franks, potato skins, mozzarella sticks, and jalapeño poppers—so what do you want in the other? A wine of maximum versatility and refreshment, that’s what. And for that, nothing beats bubbles. Sparkling wine is your Christian McCaffrey, your H-back, your cornerback-kick returner, and should be your first look when you’ve got a tough pairing task. 

NV Faire la Fete Brut Cremant de Limoux – $18

2021 Paltrinieri Radice Lambrusco di Sorbara – $20 

NV Bellissima Prosecco Brut Veneto Italy – $22

NV Maurice Grumier O ma Vallee Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut Champagne – $45

Cheese & Charcuterie

OK, let’s say you love the game but reject football’s Velveeta-and-Cool-Ranch culture, so you decide to go full country club with cheese and charcuterie. We say go all-in with a bottle of Champagne—it doesn’t get any fancier than that, and bubbly won’t break stride when your friend who didn’t get the memo shows up with Flaming Hot Cheetos. And since a Super Bowl party with Camembert is likely to have filet mignon coming off the grill at halftime, we recommend bringing in a hearty California Cab to complete the point-after.

Smoked Meats

Smoked: It’s bad if you’re talking about a corner getting beat on a post route, but good if it means your host has had a ten-pound brisket tenderizing in his Big Green Egg overnight. We say, where there’s smoke, add more: That’s why we love cigar-box-tinged Rioja and spicy Syrah to hang with meats that have seen open flame. And of course, when meat’s coming off the grill, vibrant Zinfandel is always a bottle you want on your team. 

2019 Franklin Son Pere Old Vine Zinfandel Alexander Valley – $24 

2006 Bodegas Urbina Rioja Reserva Especial – $37 

2019 Domaine Durand Confidence Cornas – $55

Fried Chicken

Despite the fact that it can make your fickle fingers fumble a precious bottle, we still love fried chicken for the big game—just don’t let it throw your palate for a loss. That’s why we recommend wines that take fats head-on. Bubbles, Champagne or otherwise, are the ultimate fat-sacker, so be sure to have a few on the roster. Other high-acid whites, like Sauvignon Blanc, can also cleanse your palate for the next play.