Wine Pairings for the Friday Night Life
One weekend two years ago I spent two beautiful, kid-free nights with my sister and two other coaches’ wives at a Holiday Inn in Napa. This is how I became a self-proclaimed professional wine drinker and this clearly makes me qualified to give you wine advice.
If you don’t believe in my qualifications as a sommelier, then maybe you will at least trust in my qualifications as the wife of a football coach, as I am now entering into my ninth season with my life teammate. We have changed our team colors five times, won games, lost games, have seen coaches and their families come and go, and experienced the heartbreak that comes with that process. I feel like an adult most of the time, I have learned my role in my blended family, and I have a nice set of matching wine glasses. You can trust me, ladies.
If you’re a coach’s wife (or really any wife in general) you, like me, may have a vested interest in wine. You may also be a little lost in making wine decisions since there are so many types of grapes and they all taste differently based on where they are grown, when they are harvested, how they are bottled and stored, etc. Here are some suggestions on how to select a palate-pleasing bottle based on your mood and experiences throughout football season. I pair wines with life events all the time. It’s a whole thing, I promise.
There is something magical about the sound of a drumline and those Friday night lights. The beginning of a brand new season is exciting, but also bittersweet as the door closes on vacations, endless family time, and a partner to help flip the laundry. Choose something bubbly and bright, but dry and not too sweet. My personal favorite is a sparkling chardonnay made by Brut Dargent that you drink over ice (since Lord knows it’s still hotter than six shades of hell in September in Texas). Happy and hopeful.
If you’ve never tried an unoaked chardonnay, the first win of the season is a great reason to uncork this beauty. Unoaked chardonnay is stored in steel barrels instead of your typical french oak variety. It removes that oak taste from your palate and has a crisp, bright finish that leaves your mouth feeling fresh and clean. I choose it for the first win, because when you drink this, you forget all about the oak. You don’t even miss it in this single moment. And it’s the same when your team wins their first game. In this single moment, you don’t miss the summer. The season is hopeful, you still have plenty of energy, and your kids are not yet bored in the stands. Maybe this is the year!
Your boys are on a roll and you barely even notice the ten loads of laundry you need to fold. Coach invited his players over for lunch on Saturday and didn’t ask you first? No prob! It’s just 8 more mouths to feed! Anything for those precious boys! You need a blend – after the boys leave, of course. Red or white blend, doesn’t matter. Your boys are mixing it up on the field, so let those winemakers mix it up in your glass. The taste of success is so sweet.
Oh heavens, what is happening? Spirits are down on the field and worse in your home. I don’t believe in turning to alcohol to solve problems, but a loud, bold glass of relaxation couldn’t hurt here, right? Try pairing your man’s fifth loss with a stout Cabernet Sauvignon or a grumpy Pinot Noir. Because there’s no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.
This is the win you didn’t see coming. I would never in my life think to choose a wine named Gerwurtstraminer, but thanks to a nice lady named JoAnne on the North Fork of Long Island, I chose to take a sip of One Woman Gerwertztraminer. I will run cheering to this wine every time I see it, just as I will run out on the field after winning that game we weren’t supposed to. You know that game. Everyone has had that game. And what a sweet surprise it is!
Around Halloween, when you have to take the kids trick-or-treating by yourself, you can count on the pity party to start banging the drums. Girl, this calls for something extra special. Tame that salty temperament by whipping yourself up some sweet and spicy, spirit-lifting Fall Sangria. Take the kids to your mom’s house, google Bobby Flay’s recipe, and call your friends in for backup.
This is a TRUE celebration: if your team made it, wow, congratulations! This is the fun part. You deserve a drink. If your team did not make it, wow, congratulations! You’re finished and you carried your world on your shoulders all season. You deserve a drink. In our house, we celebrate all things with pan-seared steaks, and my favorite pairing with steak is by far a juicy merlot, specifically the accessible and affordable Coppola. Those gentle tannins will make your teeth blue and your heart swell. Plus it will put you to sleep and Lord knows you need it.
Cheers to a great season, friends!
Abbey Marley Nucci is full-time wife, mother, and high school teacher in Texas. She likes to travel, spend quality time with family and friends, make interesting creations in her Instant Pot, and find creative ways to save money so that she can actually do all the aforementioned things. Her purpose in life is to serve the Lord in whatever way she is called.