Super Bowl Sunday is host to a lot of casual parties, many that involve pot lucks or smorgasbords. With such a wide variety of food, the default drink of choice is beer, usually Bud Light. Plus they sponsor those wacky commercials; though this year the Bud folks are revving up for the introduction of Bud Black Crown (already in stores, by the way). Well, I'm breaking from the pack here and recommending super wines, defined a variety of ways, for the Super Bowl (keep those high-end, expensive wines for another smaller, more intimate occasion).
• Gascon Malbec 2011, Mendoza ($12): This Argentinean malbec is really super, considering the quality for the price, given the volume production. A sweet fruit nose of blackberry, blueberry, wood smoke, vanilla and mocha includes a surprising floral note. The wine is fairly direct and unencumbered with its flavors of blackberry, blueberry, lead pencil and mocha, while black cherry comes into the picture with time in the glass. More elegant perhaps than the previous vintage, it has soft, rounded tannins and a well balanced structure that just begs for food to really show its stuff.
• Michael David 6th Sense Syrah 2009/2010, Lodi ($16): The Phillips family (Michael and David) represent the fifth generation of growers in Lodi. They are famous for their super concentrated, high octane wines and their syrah is no exception. Smoky, meaty and gamey on the nose with dark plum, blackberry and myrtle berry fruit, the wine just blows up on the palate with blackberry, boysenberry, myrtle berry flavors along with black licorice, crème brulee, shoe polish, mocha, lavender and minerals. Dense and loaded with many secondary flavors, its easy to get seduced by this open knit yet concentrated and juicy amalgam. A real cornucopia of flavors.
• Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz 2008, McLaren Vale ($32): If you've never had an Aussie Two Hands wine, this is a good place to start and get in on some super extracted and concentrated flavors. The color is so dark, you can't see through it; it's virtually opaque. First sniff brings blackberry, blueberry and (childhood) grape candy aromas, as well as black licorice and anise. First taste is totally mouth coating and the immediate impression is that of your Granny's grape/dark fruit jam, seemingly thicker and more spread able than jelly. Blackberry wins out over blueberry in the flavor department while vanilla and chocolate-covered cherry come on strong too. Again, you could pour this over your pancakes and be very happy with the outcome. You almost feel like you have to pick the blackberry seeds out of your teeth; it's that intense though it's never heavy or clumsy.