Superbowl Bagel & Wine Pairings


While I appreciate a good football game, the food and drink opportunities afforded by Super Bowl Sunday take precedent. Consider the de rigueur offerings – wings, chips, dip, pizza, etc. They tend to be afternoon and evening foods. However, I know a lot of folks who like to kick things off earlier in the day. This is especially true when young kids are involved. Half time often conflicts with bedtime. This year, in honor of these time constraints, I’ve decided to focus on bagels. It’s a celebratory food often associated with Sundays, and a quirky item to pair with wine. I’ve highlighted five bagel preparations from our database. They aren’t terribly complicated, but such is the nature of a bagel.

I’m not quite ready to make homemade bagels at this point, but it’s on the list. If you have recipes please do share in the comments. As a resident of the world’s bagel capital (New York), any attempts to make my own bagels could be in vain.

Smoked Salmon Bagel

Pair it with Dolcetto.

Salmon is a classic bagel preparation. The pairing must be something bright and fruity with subtle earth tones – like a Dolcetto. These wines can handle a slight chill. They are fairly low in tannins. Acidity flows. The bitter, earthy notes are a great foil for smoked salmon. Alcohol levels tend to be moderate - a huge plus for day-time drinkers.

Dolcetto is a Piemontese grape sometimes described as the “every day drinking Barolo”. Dogliani DOCG is the region of choice; their Dolcetto wines are renowned for complexity.  California, Washington and Oregon are good bets, too. To try:

Chionetto Briccolero Dogliani DOCG 2015

Steak Bagel Sandwich

Pair it with Carmenere.
This preparation is a great way to dress up a bagel – or dress down a steak. Carmenere comes to mind. Its savory flavors are great for beef, especially in this form. Carmenere is not a big wine, so there’s no need to pair it with a more powerfully flavored cut of beef  - like something dry aged for sixty days. Carmenere is not very tannic, and it doesn’t tend to be oaky. A well-charred steak may overpower the flavors of the wine. The thin-cut slices and light marinade in this preparation will let Carmenere's red fruit, herbal notes, and bright acidity shine.
To try, a cult favorite from Italy. It includes a dash of Merlot:
Inama Carmenere Più 2015

Broiled Tomato and Pesto Bagels

Pair with Vernaccia.
This preparation deserves a truly Italian wine. It’s time to flip the script and reach for a white. While there is another white Vernaccia offshoot in Italy (the Vernaccia di Oristano in Sardinia), the more widely produced and available one is Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Generous citrus notes and gentle floral aromas surround this light, crisp grape. It will kick up the aromatic herbs and tomato in the bagel.
To try:
La Lastra Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2016

Roasted Red Pepper Bagel Sandwiches

Pair with Merlot.
Pick up a big, fat juicy Merlot for this one. When it comes to Merlot, even the fat and juicy examples retain soft, velvet tones. It’s a crowd- pleasing grape, sure to ignite the nuanced flavors in the roasted red peppers. I can’t help but go to California when it comes to Merlot. While some contrarians may disagree, Napa’s iconic producers deserve the accolades they receive.
To try:
The Duckhorn portfolio has something for everyone, in most every range – from Paraduxx to Decoy. Check it out.

Smoky Chipotle Hummus with Garlic Bagel Chips

Pair with Chenin Blanc.
Don’t hesitate to smear this hummus on a bagel and call it a day. Life is only complicated when we allow it to be.
One of my favorite uncomplicated grapes is Chenin Blanc, a native of the Loire. One of its sub-appellations, Vouvray, offers some truly compelling examples of sparkling Chenin Blanc. Vouvray is made with one hundred percent Chenin Blanc in the traditional method. The wines ferment in tank. A secondary fermentation happens in bottle. What makes Vouvray extra special is lees aging: a minimum of twelve months is required by the region, but many producers choose to go above and beyond. Lees is just another term for dead yeast cells. They impart the wine with a creamy texture and thick, rich flavors. Vouvray is a perfect match for a densely flavored hummus bagel. There is a thickness to chipotle-flavored dishes (as it is a thick-skinned pepper) that is a perfect complement to Vouvray.

To try: Champalou is a favorite producer of mine.

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