Monday, July 21, 2014

Wine Tip of the Week: Eat This Drink That Series - Hamburgers

Burgers are a pretty basic concept - some type of ground meat (sorry I'm not including anything prefixed with "Veggie" in this discussion!) served in a bun.  A basic concept yes, but then come the toppings. Condiments of all shapes and sizes, fresh and cooked produce, mushrooms, fried eggs, cheese from plastic wrapped American singles to intense blue cheese, BBQ sauces, chilies, peppers... the list goes on and on.  This variety makes pairing wine with your burger a bit of a challenge, but today we'll tackle three very different  burger configurations.

Eating this?:
  • "Basic" Hamburger. with classic condiments and toppings: mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, pickles or pickle relish, and a slice of american cheese.
  • Mushroom Burger. Sautéed mushrooms with a slice of a mild cheese like swiss.
  • Greek Lamb Burger. One of my favorites, with feta cheese, a garlicky tzatziki sauce, black olives, and some raw baby spinach.
Drink this:
  • For the Basic Hamburger - Drink a lighter bodied Zinfandel or Syrah. You don't want a huge tannic monster, but these wines will pair nicely with all the different flavors on a classically dressed burger.
  • For the Mushroom Burger - Drink Pinot Noir.  With a lighter taste profile, this burger needs a lighter bodied wine. Plus, Pinot does a great job picking up the earthy taste of mushrooms.
  • For the Greek Lamb Burger - Drink Rioja or Ribera del Duero. With the higher acid level from the sauce, you need a wine with a good level of acid that will also go nicely with lamb. Tempranillo based wines like this are very food friendly.
Avoid this:
  • For the Basic Hamburger - ABC - Anything But Chardonnay! Red wine is needed to accentuate the char of a good burger... so save the Chardonnay for another day (maybe a lobster day!).
  • For the Mushroom Burger - Avoid big tannic reds that will overpower the subtle tastes of this great burger creation.
  • For the Greek Lamb Burger - Avoid light bodied whites like Pinot Grigio. A light wine will get lost in the big flavors of this epic burger.

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