Wine Pairings for Game Day

Even junk food deserves the right beverage.


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Football season is here, which means lots of couch time and snacks from a bag. But even junk food deserves the right beverage (and it doesn't always have to come from a can). Here are some match-ups to try this Sunday:

Sparkling Wine with Potato Chips
Often underrated as a food wine, the refreshing bubbles in sparkling wine cleanse and sharpen the palate. Here, bubbly cuts some of the potato chips' salt and grease. Try less-expensive Cava or Prosecco—no need to break out the Champagne (unless your team wins, of course)!

Sauvignon Blanc with Chips and Salsa
A match made in food heaven, Sauvignon Blanc's zingy crispness pairs well with the acidity in a tomato-based salsa. Serve the salsa with lime-flavored tortilla chips, and seek out New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, which is known for its lime notes and bracing acidity.

Chardonnay with Buttered Popcorn
Chardonnay is often low in acidity, with lots of rich, buttery smoothness—a fantastic match for a big bowl of buttered popcorn. A bottle from Australia and California is usually a safe bet for a smooth, easy-drinking Chardonnay.

Rioja with Cheese Curls
Spanish red Rioja is typically low in tannin, with fresh berry and plum flavors. It also pairs well with the cheddar cheese flavor in cheese curls. Look for light, easy-drinking Riojas from Spain's Alavesa region.

Côtes du Rhône with Pretzels
Red Côtes du Rhône wine offers ample fruit and a bit of earthiness. Grab a bag of thick, rustic pretzels, and a bottle of this Southern France winner, and get ready for kickoff. Look for basic "Côtes du Rhône" on the label for the best bang for your buck.

Kelly Magyarics is a wine writer and educator in the Metro D.C. area. She can be reached via her Web site, www.trywine.net.


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