Many people scoff at the idea of pairing wine with less refined food - we're quite the opposite. Not only do we condone drinking great wine with some of our favorite casual and street foods, we actually suggest it. Keep these five basic rules in mind when grilling your burgers and you won't be disappointed:
1) Use Ground Chuck - Quite simply, it has more flavor and it's inexpensive. Season with salt and pepper. No need to over think this one.
2) Get Your Grill HOT - The hotter the better. A bit of char on the outside is a good thing.
3) Only Flip Once - This takes practice. Try to cook the burger 3/4 of the way through on one side. Flip the burger and add cheese shortly afterwards.
4) Do Not Overcook Your Burger - This is a cardinal sin. I prefer Medium Rare. Anything over Medium is disrespectful to the cow.
5) Potato Buns Rule - Soft White and Sesame buns are great substitutes.
Now that you know what you're doing, give these five burger recipes a try and pair them with our recommended wines. You're gonna like the way they taste - I guarantee it.
The Classic Burger
Cheese: American or Cheddar
Other Ingredients: Yellow Mustard, Ketchup, Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Pickles
Wine Pairing & Other Notes: For this burger, check out the Lucas and Lewellen Cabernet Sauvignon. It's from Santa Barbara where it tends to be a little warmer leading to riper fruit and great Cabernet flavor. The bold fruit flavor and tannin in the wine will cut through the sweet and fatty grease of this American staple.
The Earthy Burger
Cheese: Swiss or Blue
Other Ingredients: Grilled Onions, Sauteed Mushrooms, Yellow or Fancy Mustard, Ketchup
Wine Pairing & Other Notes: Pair this burger with a bold and earthy Red Blend or Syrah for a real treat. The Desert Wind Ruah Red Blend from Washington provides a good balance of earth and fruit would to perfectly with this burger. Washington is at a higher latitude and generally gets less sun than wines of California leading to earthier wines with good acid. The earthiness and acidity will really compliment the mushrooms, cheese, and onions on this flavor-packed burger.
The Smokehouse Burger
Other Ingredients: Bacon, Jalapenos, BBQ Sauce
Wine Pairing & Other Notes: The sweet and smoky flavors of this burger instantly make me think of Zinfandel. The Harris-Kratka Vineyard Zinfandel from Wine Guerrilla is beautiful and extracted in flavor with just enough dark fruit and complexity to keep it from being jammy. It has 10% Carignan and 5% Petite Sirah, which lend some great tannin, acid, and peppery goodness that make this wine a total knockout. A powerful wine for a powerful burger.
Cheese: Merkt's Cheddar
Other Ingredients: Pickles, Ketchup, Mayo, Mini Potato Buns
Wine Pairing & Other Notes: This gameday and tailgate favorite meets its match with Piccola's Bordeaux blend red wine. This particular wine comes in a tailgate friendly (and green) tote bag and each one contains 2 regular sized bottles of wine. These sliders are easy to make and the Merkt's cheddar will draw compliments from all of your guests. Give them some red wine in Solo cups and get back to cheering on your gameday picks.
Cheese: Brie or Gruyere
Other Ingredients: Thinly sliced apple, Caramelized onions, Garlic Aioli
Wine Pairing & Other Notes: This burger is very rich and needs a wine that has enough flare to stand up to it, without being brash or impolite. Ehret's Syrah is just the one - mysterious, yet refined. Think of this wine and burger pairing as cocktail attire - dressy, but cool and sexy at the same time.
Now it's time for you to fire up the grill and open a bottle of wine. If you decide to try any of these recipes, tag your pictures with #winestyr for a chance to win some Winestyr swag. Let me know if you have any other favorite burger recipes in the comments section below. Cheers and enjoy!
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