For those of us in the United States, Independence Day is today, so this is probably as good a time as any to consider hamburgers – actually, it’s always a good time to talk about burgers. For those wine oenophiles – that’s what they call wine experts (not me) – or even those who just like wine regardless of their own expertise (that’s me), matching up burgers and wine is an interesting pairing.
Again, let’s get this straight: I’m not an expert. I’ve talked about my growth in the world of wine from a level not too long ago that thought sophistication in drinking wine was ‘Two Buck Chuck’. I’m a work in progress when it comes to knowledge and wine. And yes, I’ve been a homebrewer for a couple decades now and almost any one of the collection I’ve made go well with burgers.
Is Zin the answer, or maybe … ?
And still, burgers and wine isn’t a particularly hard coupling of food and drink and a majority of folks would consider any red blend as a typical pairing for a hamburger. A very good friend of mine, who passed away last year, was a master winemaker of the zinfandel varietal, and his wine easily went with a nice big slab of beef including hamburgers. He also liked malbecs from Argentina and that certainly worked for me.
Most experts will say you need big bold fruity wines for burgers. My friend’s zin fit that mode but other friends of mine from Christian Lazo Wines have a barbera that would work great.
My little bit of knowledge tells me the toppings you add might matter as to what wine fits best. I’ve steered away from Merlot like a lot of people, but in the past I’ve had good luck with the Bordeaux varietal – again not an expert but Merlot seems to handle a wide variety of foods. Cabernet Sauvignon is king and goes well with some of my organic heirloom tomatoes, so if you’re piling them on to your hamburger, certainly cab would work. Is Cab too bold for burgers? You be the judge … but try it.
Let’s not forget some like whites when they drink wine and let’s face it, it usually hot this time of year and a nice light wine might be a better match. My expertise isn’t large in this case but I’ve read that chardonnays can match up well with hamburgers. You could also go with a rose’ – tell me I’m wrong, you wouldn’t be the first.
We’ve tried port with hamburgers and either we had too many prior to eating to know the difference, but it fit with all the different flavors a burger can have.
I’ve heard folks talk about drinking champagne (not white) with hamburgers but that might be a little over the top … or maybe not. Hmmm. Anyway, there are some ideas at the Press Democrat that you might find helpful.
Hamburgers and wine is a fun experience, so don’t over think it. I’m not sure expensive wines fit with burgers and since it’s a celebratory but casual time during Independence Day and we’re outside in the warmth of the sun, lower priced wines seem to match better with the situation … maybe that’s my inner Two Buck talking.
So have I totally confused you? Good, because that’s the way I am most of time when trying to do my best with wines. In the end, I think we’ll keep it simple with barbecue ribs, grilled cheeseburgers and some zin. Have a happy Independence Day and remember, what’s good now, will be good all summer.
Daryle W. Hier