The Best Wine Pairings for Football Season and Tailgating

Football and Wine Glass

Most of us insist on beer at a tailgate. That’s how the knee jerks, anyway. But there are great wine pairings for football and we are on a mission to bring together the disparate fan domains of football and wine. Because a good red will bring out the flavor in the condiments. Because Riesling matches a bratwurst pretty damn well, and brings out its seasoning. Makeshift picnics in stadium parking lots have grown into a national pastime, and while you may not be ready to invest in an SUV in team colors featuring a side-mounted grill, you can still enjoy some great wine pairings for football season.  Sure, your buddies will look at you funny at first, wondering why you’re holding a stemmed glass in the middle of a parking lot. But this is where you become an ambassador for taste.

Wine pairing and football season. Tailgate party wine pairings

Wine Pairings for Football Season

The best way to match wine to burger is not by the burger itself but what goes on top of it. So if your burger comes with a sharp cheddar, tomato, pickle, and ketchup – plenty of vinegar in those last two items – you’ll want a light refresher. Try a 2017 Kale Rose from Sonoma Coast. It’s made from the 100% grenache and offers white raspberry and citrus notes with a hint of mint.

Or, if you’re feeling a bit more gourmet and you’ve got a burger with, say, blue cheese, caramelized onions, and mayo, go for a big jammy fruit wine – like the Saxon Brown Stonewall Zinfandel from Sonoma County. Alongside the toppings, the Saxon Brown’s layers of plum, cherry, chocolate, and blackberry offer a good balance. At $40 per bottle it will set you back a little more than that case of Coors, but a well-made burger deserves a well-made wine. Now these are our kind of wine pairings for football season!

And like I said, Riesling with your brats. Like this one from Dr. Fisher, which is from the Riesling powerhouse Germany.  With plenty of fruit, it delivers a fresh scent of apple and orange blossoms  and  a squirt of fresh lime reinforces the bright juiciness exhibited on a silken, buoyant, generously fruity to go with the white pepper and marjoram in your brats.

A bit of a splurge for a tailgate party, Doubleback 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Washington; $129, 97 points. is the brainchild of former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe and his winemaker buddy Chris Figgins. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Petit Verdot blended in, this robust red will more than hold up to anything fresh off the grill, from a juicy burger to a flame-kissed skirt steak. 

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