We’re clinging fiercely to the pleasures of late-season grilling with a burger spectacular! And whether you’re looking to stay traditional or explore new flavor combinations, we have a wine pairing for you.
Classic Bacon Cheeseburger
A rich, well-cooked beef burger screams out for a robust red wine. Add in some sharp cheddar and rich, smoky bacon, and the list narrows to reds with robust fruit notes — for contrast — and a bit of earthiness to add complexity. Merlot is a marvelous option, with its smooth tannins, berry flavors, and leathery finish. The wine also has an approachability that’s bang-on for burger night.
Lamb Burger with Harissa and Feta
Lamb is a strong flavor that can hang with equally strong condiments. Look to the lamb-happy Mediterranean region for inspiration and top your patty with harissa (the spicy North African red-pepper spread) and feta cheese (the creamy, brined Greek staple). We recommend a fresh, bright red like Chambourcin, with its high acidity and herbaceous notes, to provide a counterpoint to the grassy, gamey meat. Serve it cold for extra zip.
Grilled Portabella Burger with Sweet Soy Glaze and Gochujang Mayo
What makes a burger a burger? All we really care about is that it’s something warm and round on a bun. Grilled portabella mushrooms, charred and tenderized on the grill, are tasty enough to satisfy even a staunch carnivore. Balance out the cap’s earthiness with a sweet glaze and a creamy, spicy sauce infused with Gochujang, a classic Korean condiment made from fermented chilis. When it comes to the wine, grab a bottle of Saperavi. This bold wine — acidic, tannic, full-bodied — can stand up to the dish’s robust flavors.
Turkey Burger with Charred Red Onion and Sun-Dried-Tomato Mayo
Pairing: Vidal Blanc
Turkey burgers don’t have to be boring. Case in point: This version gets a boost from charred red onions (cooking sweetens them up) and a piquant sauce made using sun-dried tomatoes. Delightfully tart and sweet, those little red flavor bombs should be your guide when selecting a wine. Vidal Blanc is similarly acidic and fruity, and often aged in oak, which provides another layer of complexity.
Spicy Black Bean Burger with Avocado and Pepperjack Cheese
When you’re pairing a wine with this vegetarian classic, look for two things: acidity and a smidge of sweetness. The former will balance the richness of the avocado and the savoriness of the beans. The latter will offset the heat of the patty and the cheese. Riesling fits the bill here — its crispness will elevate every bite.
“Buffalo” Burger with Chopped Pickled Chilis and Blue Cheese Sauce
Pairing: Pinot Noir
This burger is not for the faint of heart. Top a juicy beef patty with a pile of vinegar-y chopped peppers (make your own or seek out a jar of chopped cherry peppers, sometimes marketed under the name “hoagie spread”) and a healthy glug of blue cheese dressing. When it comes to pairing, seek out a fruit-forward wine. Those flavors will do triple duty, bringing out the vegetal sweetness of the peppers, cooling down the heat, and underlining the funk of the sauce. Pinot Noir, ripe with notes of cherry, raspberry, and mushrooms, is an elegant choice, especially since the wine’s earthiness will boost the meal’s meatiness.