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Game Day Pours

Take the tailgating spread to the next level with wine pairings that are big winners.

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge, France 2013

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge, France 2013  

Fried chicken and barbecue are nearly always on the tailgating menu come fall, so we rounded up a selection of buttery-rich chardonnays and smoky black-fruited Côtes du Rhône red blends so tasty and decadent that, even if the team loses, you’ll celebrate the wine.

Ramey Russian River Valley Chardonnay, California 2014
Creamy with satisfyingly rich tropical notes and a nicely subtle use of oak; your friends will fight over the last drop from this classic Sonoma, Calif., producer, so stock up. $40, UnCorkIt Wine Superstore, 393 E. Illinois St.

Catena Alta Chardonnay, Mendoza 2014
Made with grapes grown in high-elevation rocky soils, this Argentine wine has a harmonious rich palate of peaches, lemon cream and mouthwatering freshness. Bring on the fried chicken! $30, Vin Chicago, 1826 N. Elston Ave.

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Rouge, France 2013
This entry-level Côtes du Rhône red features syrah as the main varietal and is blended with grapes from the region’s top growers. Well-balanced and aromatic with a palate of black cherry, licorice and tobacco, this wine is a terrific quality for an excellent price and
pairs beautifully with pizza and grilled meats. $15, Binny’s Beverage Depot, 213 W. Grand Ave.

Guillaume Gonnet Bel Ami Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France 2015
This wine’s crowd-pleasing velvety texture comes from a blend of grenache, syrah, cinsault and mourvèdre. The dark-berry fruit flavors and threads of tobacco and violets make it a natural companion to barbecue. $40, Vin Chicago, 1826 N. Elston Ave.