Football season is finally back! National Tailgating Day falls on the first Saturday each September. Nothing makes game day more complete than the perfect food. Sure, you could just grab a random six pack of beer, but why have an average food experience when you can have an extraordinary one? This is a job for wine!  Let’s take a tour of some of the most popular game day foods and the wines that make them shine.

Buffalo ANYTHING!
Whether  buffalo wings, buffalo chicken dip, or buffalo pizza, you will dazzle your taste buds by pairing this flavor with an off-dry white wine, such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc. Sweet loves heat, and the perfect hint of sweetness in each of these wines will compliment the spicy kick of anything buffalo.
Featured recipe and photo cred: Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings from JessicaGavin.com
Shop medium-dry wines here: VINOvations

Jalapeno Poppers/Styffed Jalapenos
A crisp white wine dominated by citrus, herbs, and minerals, such as a Sicilian Grillo, makes a fantastic sidekick for jalapeno peppers stuffed with goat cheese or cream cheese. Wrap them in bacon for an even fruitier taste and smoother texture. Equally as delicious with jalapeno poppers is a crisp, refreshing Pinot Grigio from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy, typically fruit-driven, approachable, clean, crisp, refreshing wine with aromas of white flowers, melon and mineral.
 
Featured recipe: Baked Stuffed Jalapenos by SimplyRecipes.com
Photo credit: Elisa Bauer
Shop Pinot Grigios here: VINOvations

Pizza
Your favorite cheese, pepperoni, sausage, or margherita pizza is a natural compliment for Italian red wines, such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Nero d’Avola, or Sangiovese. Italian reds pair exceptionally well with red sauce Italian, and pizza is no exception. The acidity of the tomato sauce, along with the salt and fat content of the cheese and meat will smooth out the wine’s acidity, leaving a beautifully soft fruit flavor on the palate.

Featured recipe and photo cred: Classic Margherita Pizza by SallysBakingAddiction.com
Shop Italian wines here: VINOvations

Chili
A hot, spicy pot of chili can often be tricky to pair perfectly, but you can’t go wrong with a fruity, aromatic varietal. Although dry, a well balanced Viognier can give the impression of sweetness that works to balance and compliment heat and spice. Prefer a red? A lighter, fruity red that is lower in tannins, such as Pinot Noir or Gamay, would be the perfect match.

Featured recipe and photo cred: The Best Classic Chili by TheWholesomeDish.com
Shop Viognier here: VINOvations

Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders
South African grape Pinotage produces inky, bold flavored wines with plum, blackberry, bacon and smoke flavors. This makes it an ideal varietal to pair with red meat and with bacon. Add a tangy cheese into the mix, and we’re talking heaven!

Featured recipe and photo cred: Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders by TheBlackPeppercorn.com
Shop Pinotage here: VINOvations

BBQ
The tangy, yet smoky flavors of pulled pork can be beautifully complimented with a wine that exhibits red fruit supported by black pepper, smoke & tobacco. Syrah/Shiraz is exactly that wine and is a crowd favorite with BBQ dishes such as pulled pork or chicken. Top the pulled pork with a heaping spoonful of cole slaw, and taste the magic!.

Featured recipe and photo cred: Perfect Pulled Pork Recipe by kevinandamanda.com
Shop Syrah/Shiraz here: VINOvations

Visit NationalDayCalendar.com for more information on #NationalTailgatingDay
Cheers!

About the Author

Missa Capozzo

CSW, WSET3, FWS, BWSEd | Executive VP of Sales and Aquisitions at VINOvations

Missa holds various positions in the wine industry, each of which brings her incredible fulfillment. She is the EVP of Sales and Acquisitions at VINOvations in Sharon, MA. She also teaches students of all levels of experience and interest in wine classes, lifestyle experiences, and leads wine dinners all around Massachusetts.

She is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) with the Society of Wine Educators, a certified French Wine Scholar (FWS), certified with the Wine and Spirits Trust, Level 3 Advanced (WSET), and a certified educator with Boston Wine School (BWSEd).  Her unique combination of talent allows her to translate the nuances of wine for the everyday wine drinker in an accessible and fun way. Demystifying wine and removing the intimidation is her passion when sharing wine with others.