Villadoria Barolo Serralunga d’Alba
From: Italy
Cost: $34-36
Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Villages
From: France
Cost: $15-17
Year: 2014
A re you ready for some football? The Super Bowl is Sunday night, and you need to have some adult beverages on hand whether you are watching the game at a party or at home.
Most people seem to prefer beer during a football game, but you can’t beat a nice bottle of wine. I have two to recommend.
You have to carefully choose the wine so it will match what you’re eating during the game. And because the game starts at 6:30 p.m. you might want to break for dinner at halftime, making sure you can see the television. The halftime show won’t be all that great, but you can bet there will be funny ads during this spectacle.
With that in mind I would recommend the Villadoria Barolo and the Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Villages. Both are versatile and will pair with many different foods.
The Barolo is the more substantial of the two, with a rich, complex flavor. It is a gorgeous ruby red in color with some garnet along the edges. It has expressive aromas of cherry and roses. On the palate I picked up red fruit flavors, especially cherry, and bits of licorice and flowers. It is a full-bodied wine without being overpowering.
The grapes are 100 percent nebbiolo grown in the world-renowned Serralunga d’Alba. The Lanzavecchia family has chosen some of the most famous of its estate vineyards where the terroir really comes through in the wine. Barolo comes from the northern Italian area of Piedmont. It usually is described as one of Italy’s greatest wines.
This wine is made in an Old World style but with modern tastes. The juice spends 25-28 days on the grape skins to extract maximum flavor and structure. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. It then spends at least 18 months in Slavonian oak barrels and is finished in tanks for a total of 38 months.
This wine should be opened at least an hour before drinking. It is a wonderfully complex wine that will continue to improve in your cellar for another 10-20 years.
Barolo is not a wine that comes to mind immediately when you think about a football wine. Many Barolos are too heavy and dense to pair with football food. But Villadoria has done a great job of giving us the robust Barolo flavors that we can enjoy in a casual setting. The wine continues to evolve in the glass, and if you can manage not to drink it all at once, by the fourth quarter of the game it should be spectacular.
The Cotes du Rhone also is versatile, but it would be paired better with lighter dishes. I loved its deep red color and fruit-forward aromas. This is a bright, fresh wine that is fine to sip by itself, but really opens up with food.
On the palate the wine is full bodied and bursting with red berries and spices, with a fresh feel and long finish, evoking elegance and finesse. It has a soft, smooth mouthfeel.
The Rhone region of southeast France produces many great wines at budget-friendly prices. This one comes from the southern Rhone Valley, south of Drome and north of Vaucluse.
It is a blend of 60 percent grenache, 30 percent syrah, 5 percent mourvedre and 5 percent carignan. Fermentation is in small temperature-controlled tanks
Les Dauphins is really a collective of growers and winemakers in the Dauphiné region of the Rhone Valley. In the 1920s family winemakers in the region met in Paris and decided to join forces to produce wine that would match bistro food. They continue that tradition today, producing many exciting blends.
Bistros were all the rage in Paris, which was then regarded as the artistic and intellectual capital of Europe. Writers, painters and musicians met in bustling bistros to share and discuss their ideas over simple food and great wine. Ordinary people loved to show up and rub elbows with the glitterati.
So it seems appropriate to drink this wine during the Super Bowl, where we often serve bistro food and where we rub elbows with superstars of our era.

If you want something just a bit lighter, but still with some body, try the Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Reserve Rosé. I had it with homemade potato pancakes and it was a real treat. The rosé is packed with fruit flavor and it is refreshing. I will write a separate review of this wine soon.
Goes with: The Barolo would be great with pizza, a Super Bowl staple. But I wanted to try it with another hearty tomato dish, something my mother called green pepper stew. It’s basically stuffed bell peppers in a rich, thick tomato sauce.
The pairing was perfect. All the rich, fruity flavor of the wine played off the ground beef and tangy tomato sauce. I loved it, and it’s one of Teri’s favorite dishes. We have it often, but it has never tasted better than when I paired it with the Barolo.
The Barolo also would pair well with full flavored red meat dishes, aged cheeses, heavy pastas and rich risottos.

The Cotes du Rhone is wonderful with chili, another Super Bowl go-to dish. So I tried it with pasta and marinara sauce, which also is good for watching football. Pasta and sauce is one of my favorite easy meals. Just boil the pasta, heat some sauce and you’ve got a meal, or a hearty football snack.
Besides pizza, the Cotes du Rhone would pair well with salads, plates of meat, roast chicken or turkey and a wide variety of cheeses.
If you have questions about wine you can email Dennis Sodomka at

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