It’s that time of year: football season. And I love it! Having spent my fair share of college game days at tailgate parties, I can attest that selecting wines for the cooler is more often than not, an afterthought. Most of the fans I know consider their beer selections, flask content, and taco dip recipes more important than the wines for pouring. Not anymore – that’s a rookie mistake at this point. It’s time to bench the three-buck-chuck and Franzia (sorry, guys) and get your pre-game on with some delicious wines that are suited up and ready to play.

Having been sent the following selections as samples for review, I was impressed with each wine’s price point, their flavor profile, AND their ability to pair with every fan favorite offering on the fold-out table. Chips and salsa notwithstanding, the wines below will pair with artichoke and spinach dip, cheese and crackers, chicken sandwiches, an assortment of salads, sizzling brats, burgers, and dawgs with all the fixins, and any other home-cooked or store-bought item that those former cheerleaders are raving about.


Tailgate Party

Photo Credit:; Photographer: Hector Sanchez; Food Stylist: Marian Cooper Cairns Prop Stylist: Caroline Cunningham

 Let’s do this!

Trivento Reserve White Orchid Torrontes ($11) – A creative and downright delicious wine is this refreshing, off-dry Torrontes with just a hint (15%) of Pinot Grigio. Grapes in this memorable choice are from Argentina’s Uco Valley in the Mendoza region. Crisp and lively, intense aromas of lemon, honey, citrus, peaches, and white flowers provided a beautiful entry. Tropical fruit notes, snappy citrus, apricots and peaches were framed with zesty acidity and a full mouthfeel. That lingering finish – wow! This Torrontes-Pinot Grigio blend begs to be complemented with a garden salad with berries or goat cheese with honey and oil dressing.

Tailgate wine
Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($26) – From the Los Boldos Vineyard in Chile’s Casablanca Valley, this notable Sauvignon Blanc from Concha Y Toro, is sure to satisfy any wine lover at the game. Intense aromas of tropical fruit, bananas, lemons, limes and subtle notes of yellow flowers led to a mouthwatering palate boasting bright acidity, stone fruit, grapefruit, and more tropical fruits such as zesty lemons and limes. A salty, tart finish was just as snappy as I expected. Paired with homemade chicken salad sammies and your favorite chips, this Sauvignon Blanc from Chile scores.

Tailgate Wine
Frontera Chardonnay 2016 1.5L ($12) – A magnum of delicious Chardonnay for only $12? This wine will satisfy the palate of a plethora of Chardonnay lovers. Made by Concha Y Tora, a premier wine exporter from Chile, the Frontera wines from the Central Valley boast consistent quality and value – I’m never disappointed. The Chardonnay offered delightful aromas of lemon, juicy, citrus, and green apple that gently wafted from the glass. Refreshing and approachable, notes of lemon zest, touch of tropical fruit, citrus, and minerality on the palate will pair perfectly with appetizers of hard cheeses, fresh garden salad, and fish tacos enjoyed stadium-side.

Tailgate Wine
Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2016 1.5L ($12) – Another easy choice from Frontera is their blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot from Chile’s Central Valley. On the nose, I found lovely aromas of cherries, red florals, plums, vanilla, herbs, and earth. Food friendly acidity and integrated tannins were present in this balanced wine offering flavors of black fruit, touch of chocolate, and rich red fruit. Fire up the grill because juicy burgers are in order!

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($19.99) – Oh yeah! Wine lovers AND whiskey aficionados will get a double shot with each sip of this gorgeous Cabernet aged in Irish whiskey barrels. From the Barossa Valley in South Australia, this well priced wine showed complex and layered aromas of earth, oak, wood, mint, caramel, and red and black fruits. The ever-so-smooth palate offered vibrant acidity and satin-like tannins woven with flavors of black cherries, cola, chocolate, cassis, brambly earth…leading to a snappy (and successful) finish.

Tailgate Wine
 Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz 2016 ($19.99) – A beautiful wine from South Australia’s Barossa Valley, the Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz was finished in Scotch whiskey barrels. Licorice, vanilla, plum, dark chocolate covered cherries, and vibrant red fruit were just some of the aromas bursting from the glass. On the palate, lively acidity, powerful tannins, body, and structure provided a foundation to flavors of spice, concentrated red fruit elements, leading the drive to a long, zesty finish. Add a fillet of beef wrapped in smoky bacon, a dry aged porterhouse, or a perfectly cut rib-eye to the grill for an incredible taste sensation.

Tailgate Wine

I know that you, too, have your favorite wines (at amazing prices) at the ready whenever you tailgate. Share them in your comments below!

Cheers! ~ Cindy

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