As warm weather slowly wanes, our taste for lighter foods and beverages slowly departs with it. Potato salads are replaced with casseroles and light, fruity wines are foregone for heartier, more robust ones. Pool parties are recast for Sunday afternoon football as we take the festivities from the patio to the living room.
This Sunday, the Bears’ opening game is in the evening, at 7:20 pm central time on NBC. This allows plenty of time to take out the crock-pot and let some chili simmer all afternoon, filling the house with that familiar, comforting smell of pork sausage, tomatoes, and cumin. Chili is a dish that is perfect for cold, winter days, but fits right in on late summer or warm fall days just as seamlessly. It’s the ideal meal to kick start the football season and makes enough to serve the entire family or a group of friends. Using both pork sausage and ground beef and two different types of beans gives chili lots of depth.
The ideal beverage to accompany a meal of this heartiness is a refined, robust wine. Rather than going for a bellyful of carbonated, filling beer on this game day, try Paso a Paso Tinto, which is a Spanish Tempranillo. Tempranillo, or “little early one” in Spanish, is an early-ripening grape and the primary grape grown in Spain. It is used in many red blends.
Michael Olson, the wine consultant at Binny’s in McHenry, states, “This red wine is alive with attractive aromas of berries with mild smokiness, accented with minerals. A big core of fruit gives way to a rich floral finish.” The smokiness compliments the chili perfectly while the mild dryness of this wine actually helps smooth out the spiciness of the jalapeno in the chili. Stop by Binny's and grab this chili companion for about $10.
If you’re one of the lucky few to have tickets to watch this game in person at Lambeau Field, by all means, enjoy a hot dog and beer. But if you’re at home in the company of friends and family, plug in the crock-pot and pour the Tempranillo as you cheer on the Bears through their first matchup of the season with their longtime rivals.