5 Burger and Wine Pairings
Here at Wine Enthusiast, we take hamburgers seriously. We also take serious issue with the unwritten—and flat-out unfounded—rule that a burger must equal beer every time. Nonsense.
To help you pick the perfect bottle, here are five suggestions from some of our burger-obsessed staffers.
The Burger Somm: Matt Kettmann, Contributing Editor
The Wine to Try: Alma Rosa 2012 Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills), $35
This Pinot’s earthy tannins stand up to the charred meat, the mineral-powered acidity cuts through the cheese, and a bright raspberry character washes down fries better than ketchup.
“World-Famous” Jalama Burger, Jalama Beach Grill in Santa Barbara County, California
A 35-year-old recipe from this remote shoreline outpost, it comes with American cheese, raw onions, shredded lettuce, pickles and the house “secret sauce.”
The Burger Somm: Virginie Boone, Contributing Editor
The Wine to Try: Failla 2011 Estate Vineyard Syrah (Fort Ross-Seaview), $62
A savory, Northern Rhône-style Syrah, Failla’s deft layers of pepper and tobacco bring out the meat’s salty char, and the wine’s texture and tannins harmonize with the Swiss cheese.
HBG Burger, Healdsburg Bar and Grill in Healdsburg, California
Angus beef on a Costeaux Bakery sourdough bun, with locally-made Swiss cheese, avocado, Sonoma Brinery pickles and roasted garlic aioli.
The Burger Somm: Lauren Buzzeo, Tasting Director/Senior Editor
The Wine to Try: Spier 2011 21 Gables Pinotage (Stellenbosch), $29
Smoky bacon and char-broiled beef are perfectly complemented by this Pinotage (and many others), which often boasts similar meaty aromas and flavors in addition to ripe, fruity notes of dark berries and cherry.
Bacon Burger, The Dock in Montauk, New York
Cooked to perfection (medium-rare), it’s served with crispy cubes of slab bacon—yes, it’s very simple, but definitely a thing of beauty, for sure.
The Burger Somm: Andrew Hoover, Contributing Reviewer
The Wine to Try: Barboursville 2010 Reserve Nebbiolo (Virginia), $40
A hearty lamb slider craves a wine with bold flavors and a muscular structure. With its firm tannins and powerful earthy and fruity notes, this Nebbiolo is a no-brainer.
Queenstown Lamb Burger, Burger Bach in Richmond, Virginia
A grass-fed lamb patty dressed to the nines with Gruyère, sautéed wild mushrooms and tarragon sauce.
The Burger Somm: Paul Gregutt, Contributing Editor
The Wine to Try: Tranche 2010 Estate Grown Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $35
A burger with heat requires a substantial Syrah to wash it down. This one from Walla Walla is aromatic and powerful, tannic and loaded with oak, tobacco and vanilla accents that mingle perfectly with the burger’s spice.
AK’s Burger, Andrae’s Kitchen in Walla Walla, Washington
A ground beef-and-chorizo bomb with caramelized Walla Walla sweet onions, house-made aioli and pickled green tomatoes.
- 1Topped with American
- 2Topped With Swiss
- 3Topped with Bacon
- 4For a Lamb Burger
- 5For a Spicy Burger