Football season is in full force come October, and is usually synonymous with beer. The days are starting to get crisp and game parties/tailgates includes warmer comfort foods like chili, chicken wings, grilled/smoked meats, bratwurst, richer cheeses. If you prefer wine, stop forcing yourself to down ale that is less satisfying for you! The sport is all about teamwork, so here are suggestions for your next huddle.

Based on the time-honored rule of matching sweet to spicy, consider some of the lighter whites to take the heat off. There’s a reason Germany is known for Riesling – it’s fabulous with brats, grainy mustard and tangy sauerkraut.  Just in time – our much loved Broken Earth Riesling is back in stock!

Another white wine option for brats, as well as chicken wings, is Viognier. The Viognier grape yields a highly aromatic wine; you’ll notice stonefruit notes like peach and apricots along with the floral quality of honeysuckle. This is why many people tend to explain Viognier as “sweet,” but, really, it’s a dry white! Paso Robles, California is home to Broken Earth Winery and the area is known for its Rhone-style wines; add in our Australian winemaker, Chris Cameron, and you have the trifecta of origin, grape and maker for a white called Diablo Blanco.

Perhaps consider a lightly oaked Chardonnay from Broken Earth Estate to balance the chicken wings. Our Chardonnays characteristically carry overtones of melon, vanilla, a bit of spice – and the Estate has notes of apple. However, if the wings are super spicy, remember the rule and reverse back to a Riesling or Viognier!

Chili and burgers, as well as heartier yellow cheeses, pair up to any one of our Syrahs. Diablo Rosada is Syrah aged with 20 percent Viognier – this brightens up the wine but doesn’t kill the pepper!  If you’d like something a bit less bold and spicy, consider the Broken Earth Grenache, or the Pull Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend.

Smoked meats and sausage have become front line for party and snack fare, and can stand up to a bigger, bolder red wine. “Brambly” or “briary” are terms you’ll hear for wines like Zinfandel (no, not the White Zinfandel – the whole grape with all its dark coloring) and Petite Sirah. Think of berries that grow on bushes with protective thorns such as blackberries and black raspberries.  Vineyard Select Zinfandel is great for the line-up due to its dense body with big black cherry and peppery style; the Diablo Negro is 100 percent Petite Sirah with brambly, intense berries and roasted coffee notes.

Intimidation may be part of the game of football but don’t back down when it comes to wine over beer! Any of these selections will take you over the finish line.