Saturday, February 1, 2014

Super Bowl Food and Wine Faceoff

The Mission:
Buy “everyday wines” to pair with Super Bowl inspired appetizers in an attempt to prove wine can be a football fan’s drink!

The Wines:
Les Monts Damnes Sancerre 2011 (Sauvignon Blanc)
Flip Flop Pinot Grigio 2012
Fish Eye Pinot Grigio 2012
Mark West Pinot Noir 2011
Accord Pinot Noir 2012
Rene Barbier Mediterranean Red (Merlot blend)
Baron de Barbon Rioja 2010 (Tempranillo)


The Food:
Veggie pot stickers (recipe below)
Fresh fruit with citrus or strawberry fruit dip (recipes below)
Pickle wraps
Shrimp cocktail
Pinwheels (recipe below)
Roasted red pepper hummus with celery and carrots (recipe below)


The Pairings:
The veggie pot stickers were a white wine’s friend. They paired so well with all of the white wine options: the Sancerre and both Pinot Grigios. The Pinot Noirs were so-so, with the Mark West pairing better than the Accord. However, the other reds were not good matches for the cabbage and sesame oil of the pot stickers. The call: pot stickers are white wines' friend!

The fruit dips were unique because one was citrus and less sweet and one was strawberry and sweeter. When all citrus—pineapple and the citrus dip—was paired with the Sancerre, it was a touchdown! The strawberry dip with grapes was a close second. Both dips did pair well with the grapefruit citrus of the Sancerre, no matter the fruit. The Pinot Grigios were okay, but nothing to cheer about. A penalty flag was thrown on the reds with the fruit dips. The sweetness of the dips made all the reds seem sour and bitter.

The pickle wraps paired well with both Pinot Grigios, though the Flip Flop did score more points. The Sancerre received mixed reviews, as did the Mark West Pinot, the Accord Pinot, and the Rioja. However, the Rene Barbier was really a good match with the pickle; the salt and vinegar of the pickle with the cream cheese and salty ham were a fan’s delight with the Merlot blend.


The shrimp cocktail was basically the easiest with which to pair wines. It was practically the universal pairing. It was good with the Sancerre and both Grigios, as well as all the reds. The lightness of the shrimp was good for the whites, while the tangy and flavorful cocktail sauce matched the red’s body and flavor. The shrimp cocktail should be on everyone’s Super Bowl food team.

The pinwheels were a match made on the field for the Sancerre, but overpowered the Pinot Grigios. As the wines got more structured and intense in flavor, they paired better with this flavor-filled appetizer. The Mark West, the lighter of the two Pinots, was a decent pairing, the Accord Pinot a step better, and the Rene Barbier better yet. The Rioja was worth the celebration of this great pairing! 

The roasted red pepper hummus rounded out the line-up of Super Bowl foods, and it was a bit of a loss when matched with the white wines. However, the hummus and the Mark West Pinot Noir were a great team, followed closely by the Accord Noir. It was also good with the Rene Barbier and Rioja, though not quite the perfection of the Pinot Noirs.

The Recipes:
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Mix together in a food processor:
One can garbanzo beans, drained
Dash of salt
Juice from half of a lemon
1 tbsp. cumin
Dash of chili powder
Two roasted and peeled bell peppers from the oven or roasted bell peppers from a jar (but only as many as you want--they are usually a bit oilier and may have more flavor, so you might not want to use as many if you use the ones from a jar)
Serve with carrot and celery sticks

1 tub light sour cream
1 package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 packet ranch dip seasoning
1 small can green chilis
1 small can chopped black olives
2 bunches green onions, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp. lemon pepper
1 ½ tsp. chopped garlic
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp. dill seasoning
Mix all ingredients together; spread onto six spinach flour tortillas.
Let set two hours. Roll, slice, and enjoy.

Citrus Fruit Dip
1 block cream cheese
3 tbsp. orange juice concentrate
¼ cup Splenda
Beat with hand mixer until smooth.

Strawberry Fruit Dip
1 tub strawberry flavored cream cheese
1 small jar marshmallow cream
Beat with hand mixer until smooth; serve both dips with strawberries, pineapple, red and green grapes, apples, or bananas.

Veggie Pot Stickers
1 package shredded cabbage
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Garlic and green onions are optional
Combine the above ingredients and cook over medium heat until the cabbage is cooked thoroughly.
30 Wonton wrappers
Moisten the wrapper around the edges with water and place 1 tbsp of cabbage in the center. Seal the edges.
In a deep skillet heat 3 tbsp oil and place the wontons in the skillet. Once they start to sizzle add 3/4 of water and cover with a lid until they begin to brown. About 7-8 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve.