The Big Game is almost upon us. It’s nearly that time where we buy excessive amounts of light beer, pizza, and cheese balls. How about a more sophisticated Big Game party this time around? Now, I have nothing against pizza and beer. Miller Lite, pineapple on pizza, and ranch on pizza for the win. But how about a wine pairing party instead? There are wines out there for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of red or white, maybe you go for the rose, or you like a little bit of everything, there are endless choices. Even if you haven’t been a wine connoisseur up until this point, there is something out there for you.
These days, there are so many wines on the market you don’t even need to worry about spending a fortune for a bottle that tastes good. Someone who works in the wine industry once told me that you don’t need to spend more than $20 on a decent bottle of wine. And, in my non-expert opinion, most wines in the $7-10 range are really tasty, too! Though, I personally would avoid the Two-Buck Chuck wine unless you want a killer hangover the next day.
OK, let’s talk about these pairings. You’re at the party, pizzas toppings are being debated. What’s your go-to pizza? Keep it simple with a cheese? More of a pepperoni fan? Or do you go all in with a supreme pizza? No matter what you choose, why not reach for the wine instead of the beer.
Cheese + Pinot Grigio
If you choose a plain cheese pizza, go for a pinot grigio. I personally like this or this. A traditional pizza deserves a traditional wine. Pinot Grigio is generally a dry white wine and will pair will with the plain cheese topping. If you want to be more adventurous though, try a pinot noir. The aromatic wine will pair well with a pizza that isn’t overwhelming.
Pepperoni + Prosecco
If you’re more of a pepperoni person you can indulge in the bubbles of Prosecco. It’s basically Italy’s version of Champagne–though the whole of France may disagree with me! Most people have heard of La Marca Prosecco but check out this one instead. They also have a rosé variety if you like blush wine. The fizz of Prosecco will cut through the greasy goodness of pepperoni.
Meat Lovers + Cab Sav
A meat lovers pizza is so rich that it deserves a rich wine. Enter: cabernet sauvignon. Olema Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County is a real winner. Named Total Wine & More’s Wine of the Year for 2018, it’s definitely worth a try. Packed full of blackberry and spice, it’s the perfect choice. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big red wine fan but I’ve tried this and can appreciate its flavor making it well worth the price tag.
Hawaiian + Riesling
How about a Hawaiian pizza? Controversial topic, I know. I can’t resist a good Hawaiian … with ranch dressing of course. A riesling works well as it pairs with the tangy pineapple but also cuts through the salty ham.
All these wines will also pair nicely with platters of cheese and meats so no need to switch varietals during the game if you don’t want to. Gotta focus of the half-time show, you know!
BONUS: Dessert Pairings
I don’t know about your friends, but my friends and I generally don’t do desserts at football parties. In case you do, here are some wine pairing tips. Chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake need a cabernet sauvignon. Brownies pair well with merlots. Cheesecakes are a little bit tricky because of the creaminess but a nice fruity Riesling does the trick. Rieslings are too sweet for some, myself included, but this one breaks the mold, getting a recommendation out of me.
When all is said and done, if you just want to kick back with your beer and pizza, no one is going to judge. Don’t fix what ain’t broken, right? But hey, those of you looking to branch out, let us know your favorite wines in the comments below!
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