Rooting for the Bengals? Wine Ideas for the Big Game

If you’re a football fan, you had a memorable Sunday — even if your team wasn’t among the “final four” in the NFL Playoffs.

In the American Football Conference championship game, the Cincinnati Bengals rallied from an 18-point deficit to knock off the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24.

Then in the National Football Conference finale, the Los Angeles Rams mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 20-17.

The closeness of the games made them instant classics, and set up a Super Bowl match-up on February 13 between the Bengals and Rams that nobody was predicting before the season started.

Now, a most important question arises: What should we plan to eat and drink during the big game?

The second part of that question is easy. We’re going to drink wine, of course. But what kind of wine?

If you don’t have a horse in this race by virtue of being a fan, the first thing you need to do is pick a team so that you have a rooting interest. Then plan to prepare a favorite dish of that team’s hometown.

For instance, if you decide to go with the Bengals, you may want to chow down on Cincinnati-Style Chili or a Greek Gyro.

The chili, which has a bit of a kick, is made with finely chopped ground beef — no beans or onions unless you ask for them. It’s topped with a big mound of cheddar cheese and served with spaghetti.

What kind of wine to pour with this local favorite? One with a lot of fruit flavor and a touch of spice. Sounds like Zinfandel to us.

Another option: Pour a glass of well-chilled rosé-style wine to help mitigate the “fire” of the chili.

A Cincinnati-style Greek Gyro is made with spit-roasted beef and lamb, which is cut into strips and piled onto flat pita bread, then topped with a generous dollop of sadziki sauce. Most restaurants include chopped onions and tomatoes.

Because beef is included among the ingredients, a red wine is called for. A great match for this sandwich is Pinot Noir. Another that would work well is Malbec.

But this is your party, so if you’d rather open a bottle of Chardonnay, simply save the beef for another time, go with lamb exclusively, and replace the tomatoes with some extra sweet onions. Planning to root for the Rams? We’ll share some game day ideas with you on Thursday.

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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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