An ice-cold beer typically goes well with a burger, but here at The International Kitchen we’re a bit partial to wine with our meals, and that includes during a barbecue over Labor Day Weekend. As with any wine pairings, it’s all about balancing out the flavors of the dish. (And with burgers, that can be a lot of flavor).
First the basics. A charred burger tastes even better with a wine that has some acidity to it, like a Pinot Noir. A Syrah, on the other hand, can bring out the peppery flavors of the meat, as well as balance out a spicy burger. Bold wines, like Zinfandels, or a rich Chardonnay, also go well with beef burgers. Clearly, a lot of wines work with burgers, but the general rule of thumb is: stick to wines with few tannins.
That said, what if you’re enjoying a non-beef burger? In that case, consider your meat patty when planning out your wine menu. For example, lamb burgers stand up to Nebbiolo grapes with their strong earthy notes (and those grapes are found in the wines of Piedmont, such as Barolo and Barbaresco). Spicy shirazs work well with lamb burgers as well. As for turkey burgers, opt for a fruity wine, like a Pinor Noir, rosé, or even a Pinot Gris.
But burgers aren’t just meat patty and burger bun alone. If you’ve got a cheeseburger on the grill, consider the cheese when picking out your wine. The other toppings too can make a big impact on the flavor profile. If your toppings are sweet, go for a red like Chianti, as it has more acidity. Grilled vegetables on the other hand pair well with a dry lambrusco — and that holds true whether those veggies are on the burger, or served on the side!
What’s on your Labor Day weekend barbecue menu? Will you be serving wine?
By Liz Hall
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