About this time most years I write a rousing column about football stadium tailgate parties and the hearty wines that go with them.
But it occurs to me that not every fan is prepared to fight the traffic to the stadium, pay $50 for parking and $100-plus for a nosebleed, upper-deck, end-zone, restricted-view seat.
Some might prefer the comfort of a cozy home family room with a 60-inch HD TV, a battered-but-commodious sofa with bathroom and fridge only steps away.
So call this a wine column for couch potatoes.
Sofa-spuds aren’t necessarily lazy. You just have different priorities.
Consider the advantages. You can avoid the sticky, sweaty heat of those early-season games. You won’t have to fight over who has to be the designated driver. You can invite your frail, elderly (rich) uncle, entertain him in total comfort and maybe get back into his will.
It doesn’t mean you’re any less enthusiastic. You can still paint your face orange and green if you’re a Miami Hurricanes fan, or cream and crimson if you like Indiana’s Hoosiers – and scream your lungs out over every play.
You have total flexibility about refreshments.
If you’re blase, you can just send Junior to a convenience store for a few bags of potato chips, peanuts and corn curls and serve them with a chilled, light-bodied pinot grigio.
If you’re inspired, you can create a masterpiece you would never attempt in a parking lot. Maybe Julia Child’s two-day, 19-step recipe for boeuf bourguignon, with savory chunks of beef simmering in pinot noir-based Burgundy wine, and serve a pinot noir with it.
You can make your favorite meat loaf and serve a soft red malbec.
Or creamy mac ‘n’ cheese with an equally zaftig California chardonnay.
Or three-alarm chili with a hearty, spicy zinfandel.
Or a multi-veggie green salad, if you dare to with a football crowd. You say you’ve been told you can’t serve wine with salad? That’s true only if you use a vinegary dressing that clashes; a creamy parmesan, gorgonzola or ranch will go quite nicely with a soft Italian soave.
Or a basket of deli sandwiches – pastrami, corned beef, sugar-baked ham, with a rich red blended wine.
Or a rosemary-scented roasted chicken with an herbal sauvignon blanc.
You can even order in spicy Chinese with a lightly sweet riesling.
This is for now. Later, when the weather is cooler, we’ll talk about those hearty tailgating wines.
▪ 2013 Quivira Vineyards “Elusive” red wine blend, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County (49 percent syrah, 27 percent mourvedre, 18 percent grenache, 6 percent counoise): lively and rich, with aromas and flavors of red plums and spice, ripe tannins; $36.
▪ 2014 Pieropan Soave Classico DOC, Italy (85 percent garganega, 15 percent trebbiano di soave): floral aromas, flavors of ripe apricots and apples, light and crisp; $20.
▪ 2014 Leese-Fitch Merlot, (81 percent merlot, 9 percent syrah, 5 percent grenache, 3 percent zinfandel, 2 percent barbera): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of sweet cherries and spice, smooth; $12.
▪ 2012 Frankland Estate “Isolation Ridge” Riesling, Western Australia (100 percent riesling): lime blossom aromas, crisp and light, flavors of lemons, limes and minerals, lightly sweet; $40.
▪ 2014 Ponzi “Tavola” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Ore.: hint of oak, aromas and flavors of black cherries and spice, ripe tannins; $25.
▪ 2014 Kendall-Jackson “Avant” Chardonnay (100 percent chardonnay): aromas and flavors of tropical fruits and pears, crisp acids, hint of minerals; $17.
▪ 2013 William Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (90 percent cabernet sauvignon, 7 percent petit verdot, 1.5 percent peite sirah, 1.5 percent cabernet franc): aromas and flavors of black plums, spice and earth, full body, ripe tannins; $27.
▪ 2015 Lindeman’s “Bin 85” Pinot Grigio, South Eastern Australia (100 percent pinot grigio): light and lively, with aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and pears; $6.