In food and wine, some pairings stand the test of time. Chianti and pasta with red sauce, Pinot Noir and salmon, Riesling and earthy cheese. But if you don’t know about the marriage between Bordeaux and burgers, the time is now.
Yes, Bordeaux can be wildly expensive. The French wine region is one of the most famous on the planet and its red blends can fetch exorbitant rates. But it’s a big and changing region, with plenty of bargain finds locals might call “everyday wines.” And it just so happens that these wines pair beautifully with burgers.
An important thing to keep in mind is that there are two distinctive banks in Bordeaux, appropriately named left and right. It has to do with where the wines are grown—in other words, on which side of the Gironde estuary, which includes the Dardogne and Garonne Rivers. The left bank especially is home to some great wines that tend to run for a reasonable $20-$40. Many hail from the Médoc and are deft blends built primarily around Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
It makes for a great burger night wine because of the many complementary flavors. With Bordeaux, you get a nice mix of fruit and spice, not to mention enough heft to stand up to beef (or plant-based protein). Here are five easy burger pairings to try that will have you loving Bordeaux as a copilot.
Try them out this September let them carry you all the way through the year. These are pairings you can always count on.
With a run-of-the-mill burger, try a Chateau d’Eyssan Haut-Médoc. It’ll make the beef patty sing and make your favorite condiments pop. Open the bottle while you grill and sip it on its own, to begin with, and see how wonderfully it opens up over time.
With most of the plant-based proteins, you get a bit more in the way of minerality and earthiness of additives like soy and various oils. Elevate those flavors with a Chateau de la Croix, a wine with a woodsy side to it that does very well with this kind of burger.
Whether it’s a pre-made veggie patty or you’re making your own out of beans or even portobello mushroom, you’ll want a slightly lighter wine on hand. You can achieve that by drinking a wine young (it’ll likely be brighter) or going for something like the Chateau Lestage Darquier Moulis en Médoc “Grand Poujeaux.”
You can’t go wrong with a mushroom burger. But you can improve it, with the right Bordeaux. Play on the funkiness that cheese and fungus bring to the table with a wine like the Legende Medoc, which comes from the famous Rothschild family. It has the dark fruit and depth to handle your mushrooms and is bold enough to take on gamey meats as well.
If you prefer a more tropical burger hit with a little pineapple, teriyaki sauce, and caramelized onion, we’ve got the right wine for the job. The Chateau Fonbadet Pauillac is a great choice, full of character while still restrained in terms of alcohol content and mouthfeel. Best, it has a nice acidity to accompany this style of burger (you can even enjoy it slightly chilled).
Now you’re set to enjoy the delightful partnership that is Bordeaux and burgers. And best of all, you can do it without breaking the bank—all while getting a taste of one of the most iconic wine regions on earth.
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