Wine to cheer on the Penguins as they play for a 3-peat
With the Stanley Cup playoffs in full swing, the beer typically flows freely at game time parties. But serving easy drinking wines can also be fun especially when the party includes more casual fans.
Pick wines complementing the variety of party foods and tastes. Try:
• Notoriously superstitious hockey players grow beards, because, as we all know, shaving brings bad luck during the playoffs. Black cats supposedly bring bad luck, too. But that's not the case with the tasty 2016 Leonard Kreusch, Zeller Schwarze Katz, Mosel, Germany (8323; $9.99).
“Zeller Schwarze Katz” means “black cat from Zell.” The legend says that in the town of Zell a winemaker's black cat jumped onto a barrel, arched its back and swatted away anybody who came near. A visiting merchant concluded the cat was protecting his owner's best wine, so he bought the barrel and designated it with the now famous name “Zeller Schwarze Katz.”
Today the wine remains a fruity blend made from Riesling and Müller-Thurgau grapes grown on the slopes and plains of Germany's picturesque Mosel River Valley. The wine offers citrus, green apple and melon flavors with crisp acidity and a hint of sweetness in the finish. It pairs well with party favorites such as creamy artichoke dip, chicken tenders and shrimp cocktail. And with only 10 percent alcohol by volume, drinking several glasses won't rock the boat. Recommended.
• Cheese, olives and roasted peppers make an excellent party treat served with crackers and baguette slices. The savory flavors pair well with fruity, yet dry pink rosé wines which do not overpower the food. The 2017 Penya Rosé, Côtes Catalanes, France (Luxury 74044; $9.99) does the trick.
The wine comes from Grenache and Syrah grapes in the Roussillon, a region in southwestern France also known as French Catalonia. Direct pressing of the grapes immediately after harvest gives the wine a gorgeous pale pink color. Fresh, full aromas of cherries, ripe melons and herbal notes open to lush, vibrant fruitiness. Zesty acidity balances the dry finish. Serve it slightly chilled. Highly Recommended.
• Spicy buffalo chicken dip with chips delivers an all-star party favorite popular with just about every fan. The tasty René Barbier, “Mediterranean Red,” Catalunya, Spain (PLCB Code: 1593; $24.99 for 3 liters) pairs perfectly.
Holding the equivalent of four standard-size bottles, this “bag-in-box” wine delivers good quality and terrific value. It comes from Merlot and Tempranillo grapes grown in chalky limestone soils which adds uplifting freshness. Fresh red fruit and spicy aromas open to delicious, soft red fruit flavors. Fresh acidity and soft tannins deliver good balance. Recommended.
Po' Boy sandwiches made with crusty rolls and sweet (or hot) Italian sausage, sweet peppers and a light tomato sauce make another classic hockey party favorite. Pair them with the delicious Marietta Cellars, “Old Vine Red” Lot No. 66, California (Luxury 73499; $13.99).
This red embodies the very best of traditional, beautifully balanced California “field blends.” It mixes Zinfandel with healthy dollops of Petite Sirah and other red grapes in a juicy, fresh style that invites one sip after another. Elegant, silky tannins add just enough structure to complement the Po' Boys. Highly Recommended.
Dave DeSimone is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.