Making a decent pairing between a wine and a burger is not overly complicated. Most associations will go reasonably well. The acidity of the wine cutting through the richness of most burgers makes for a marriage made in heaven (provided both burger and wine are of good quality).
But creating a match that provides the WOW factor, the 5% magic that will undoubtedly make your taste buds sing and the flavors of the drink dance with those of the food, is little harder.
So with our friends at hisandherwine, we’ve come up with a few pairings that will not only make you salivate as you read, but should sublime your tasting experiences. A unique opportunity to try new burger recipes, and wines you haven’t thought of before !?!
The following infographic summarizes some of Andrew’s favorite Top Burger recipes, their ingredients with our wine suggestions. Read descriptions of the matches below the picture.
American Cheeseburger: American cheese, Thousand Island, Red Onion, Tomato, Pickles, Lettuce
There’s nothing like a good American Cheeseburger. And what else would you have with it than a good American wine. And California makes about 90% of those.
If you’re more into reds, and you like a rich powerful wine with your burger, then an old vine Zin from Lodi will work perfect. Truckloads of flavors and spiciness to make sure the ‘sandwich’ is not overpowering. Plenty of tannins to provide a savoury finish in this world of richness.
If white is your preference, or you prefer a more subtle association, an RR Sauv Blanc will also provide plenty of spices and herbaceous flavours, combined with a sustained acidity to keep your palate on its toes.
Fried Egg Cheeseburger: American Cheese, Grilled White Onion, Pickles, Fried Egg
- Red: Beaujolais Village Gamay
- White: Veneto Pinot Grigio
With an egg burger, one would have to go with lighter flavors in the wine, and ideally plenty of fruit and good acidity to lift things up a bit. A French red Beaujolais (Villages ideally for more depth of flavors and firmer tannins) or a refreshing yet fruity Pinot Grigio will do just that.
Blue Cheeseburger: Tarragon, Dijon Mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Caramelized Onion, Blue Cheese, on Brioche
- Red: Barbera d’Alba
- White: Austrian Gruner Vetliner
Blue cheese tends to be rather acidic and flavorsome. Add some mustard and caramelized onion and you have a delicious burger. But you’ll most definitely want the right wines for it. Italian Piedmont Barbera will provide the perfect combination of plenty of acidity, spices and slightly rustic tannins to arm wrestle the burger and hold high. Austrian Gruner is a rich and flavorsome white, yet in a fairly restrained dry style whose floral aromas should explode literally in your mouth with the blue cheese.
Chile Cheeseburger: Anaheim Peppers, Jalapenos, Garlic, Monterey Jack, Mayonnaise/Ketchup, Onion/Tomato/Lettuce, on Kaiser Roll
- Red: Colchagua Valley Carmenere
- White: Casablanca Valley Unoaked Chardonnay
Although Chile Cheeseburger doesn’t have much to do with Chile the country, since they have the same tittle, why not try them together. Chile delivers great reds from their emblematic variety carmenere that will work perfectly with the heat of the burger and will domesticate it with earthiness and complexity. Casablanca Valley offers cool climate wines with plenty of acidity and fragrance (Chardonnay as suggested, but Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir from there or from New Zealand would work great).
Bacon Swiss Cheeseburger: Thyme, Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, Swiss cheese, Avocado, Red Onion, Tomato, Lettuce
- Red: Jura Trousseau
- White : Swiss Fendant (Chasselas)
With a Swiss Burger, try a couple of ‘local’ combinations. A Trousseau wine from Jura, a French region neighboring Switzerland is very spicy, dry and acidic. Swiss Fendant wine (from Valais region for example that produces most) is a frutier and rounder white alternative.
Turkey Cheeseburger: Scallions, Garlic, Dijon Mustard, Gruyere
- Red: Loire or Virginia Cabernet Franc
- White: German or New York Riesling
Have you tried much Cab Franc before? Probably not. It’s an amazing grape variety, not dissimilar to Cabernet Sauvignon but often less rich and exuberant, more refined and drier. Try some with a Turkey cheeseburger. Loire Valley is its home in France. But Virginia makes great examples now, for a new tasting experience. Same for Riesling: arguably the best examples come from Germany, but New York provides great alternatives. Carefully choose your sweetness level.
Veggie Burger: Tofu, Cremini Mushrooms, Kidney Beans, Beet, Almonds, Cotija Cheese, Scallions, Garlic, Smoked Paprika, Tempeh, Brown Rice
- Red: Argentina Organic Malbec
- White: Columbia Valley Organic Riesling
If you’re into a Veggie Burger, you might be conscious of your diet and the health benefits that come from food and wines. Even if you’re not, and you didn’t mean to order that meat-free burger, well it’s still an opportunity to try something different and respectful of the environment in the form of an organic wine. Choose between a rich and juicy Malbec (often said ‘meaty’ ironically) from Argentina, or a deliciously-fragrant Oregon Riesling (and more or less sweet, your choice!) .
Salmon Burger: Salmon, Dijon Mustard, Mayonnaise, Lemon Juice, Cayenne Pepper, Scallions, Arugula, Tartar Sauce, on Brioche
- Rosé: Rhone Tavel Rosé
- White: Greek Santorini Assyrtico
Last but not least, and probably the pairings that excite me most!
You can’t really go red wine with the salmon. But rosé will work perfect. Of course you could go with a safer choice in the form of a Cotes de Provence rosé. The lightly-coloured acidic style is guaranteed to marry the Salmon well, cutting through the fatness of the fish, and give a nice citrusy touch. But a Tavel rosé is heavier-bodied and much frutier. This characteristics will counter strongly the richness and aromatic intensity of the fish, for a guaranteed spectacular explosion of flavors.
Santorini Island in Greece gives crisp, fresh and fruity dry whites. If you haven’t tried any yet, now is your chance!!