The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Bro Pairs for the Sports Guy

Posted on | October 15, 2015 | Written by Emery Long | No Comments

Yes, Champagne--or Franciacorta!

Yes, Champagne–or Franciacorta!

Watching sports is fun, eating food with your hands is fun, and this event should be marked and paired with the right wine. One of the most popular foods to eat while watching the game is buffalo wings, and one famous pairing is Champagne. You might question who would do such a thing. I, for one, and there are numerous reasons why, aside from shock value alone.

First off, these delicious morsels of vinegary chicken are actually more internationally relevant than you think. Fried poultry is a natural with a fizzy, cold wine—whether it’s Southern fried chicken and champagne, or wings and Cava or Prosecco. I would recommend Barone Pizzini Brut Franciacorta NV. The spicy chicken wings and touch of creamy bleu cheese coats your mouth, whilethe effervescence of this méthode champenoise sparkler will stimulate the palate with its subtle sweetness, complementing the spicy hot sauce.

Once the first bottle pops, why stop there? This wine is a Swiss army knife of flavor that is ready to rise to any pairing. For my next pairing, I would try the Barone Pizzini with a grilled kielbasa with mustard, and lightly grilled white rolls. Much like the pairing before, the wine provides relief from the spicy mustard and a complement to the kielbasa and toasted white bread. This concentrated Lombardia wine is powerful enough to play with the smoky flavor, but it’s also persistent enough to match the kielbasa to its end. My suggestion: pour in small glasses and constantly refill to keep the wine at a steady drinking temperature.

For my third pairing, I’ve chosen two of my favorite things: doughnuts, and wine—a strawberry doughnut with rainbow sprinkles and Antinori’s complex but palate friendly Castello della Sala Muffato Della Sala 2008, to be exact. The sweetness and texture of the doughnut will meet its match in the weightiness and bright fruit sweetness in the wine, and the aromatics of the strawberry icing will dance with the juicy bouquet of the Muffato; finally, the tart finish will ready you for another bite. Dessert wine before noon could be the next new craze—or you can play it safe and enjoy with brunch.

Wine and food pairings aren’t something to leave to the professionals. I encourage you to explore and experiment to discover infinite possibilities. I learned a lot about my palate by experimenting with strange pairings, and I encourage you to grab a friend and try a wine that you haven’t had before with a familiar food—or a wine that you have had before with an unfamiliar food. From there, the world of wine and food is your oyster (try it with a very light, young Beaujolais, I dare you).


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