February 10, 2023 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Burgers (and Fries!)
The humble hamburger has run the gamut from fast-food-classic-with-a-bad-name to elevated object of intrigue and invention among top chefs. An iconic food thing that (we think) originated on boats carrying immigrants from mainland Europe to the Americas – being made from a tough smoked beef which kept well and was ideal for long sea voyages – its modest origin has over the years given way to an unparalleled infamy and an extraordinary number of interpretations.
So how can this beloved and done-to-death giant of the culinary world be taken even further? Why, with the right wine pairing, of course! (We wonder if the sea-faring immigrants had any on their boats…)
How to pair wine with a burger
Okay, define “burger…”
The wine we recommend for a cow patty on brioche with swiss and mustard is not going to be the one we put forth for a garden burger with chipotle aioli. And everyone likes their burger, regardless of the base you choose, a little different – so our real recommendation is to do some experimentation and figure out what you like for yourself.
But here are a few tips to get you started:
- Choose your basic wine style according to your main protein. Having a veggie patty? Go pink. Poultry? Try a white or sparkling. Beef? Go red.
- Varietals and finer tasting notes can be matched to your favorite toppings. If you’re a cheese-boy, tannic reds or acidic whites can help to cut the fat. Earthy reds and sweet pinks can elevate mushroom umami. Classic toppings like pickles, tomatoes, mustard, etc. can have that nostalgic burger-and-coke feeling evoked by a sweeter red, or even a little bit of bubbly.
- Don’t forget your side! Fries are just as variable as their main-course counterparts. Classic straight-cut russet fries with salt call for a little effervescence to lift them up. If you’re a fan of truffle salt on your frites, a fruity, floral red can make things even more interesting. If you like a sweet potato fry with a wasabi dip, reach for the rosé.
And if that wasn’t enough, here are a few specific recommendations from the Argaux collection we think you’ll love.
Best wine for burgers and fries
- 2020 Storm Duvarita Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir – $65
The Pinot Noir of our dreams. Like sipping black velvet, it carries both the ocean and the forest floor in its oeuvre, while still delivering a fruit-forward punch that is just so very drinkable. The pairing: A well-done beef burger with raspberry jam, chevre, grilled mushrooms, and truffle fries on the side.
- 2003 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – $270
Aged to perfection – you have 5 years to experience the peak of what this bottle has to offer, so why not pair it with a really delicious meal? A deeply intriguing wine with complex flavors like gazing into a bottomless well. The pairing: A vegetarian beet-based patty on brioche with a side of sweet potato fries.
- NV Weingut Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Wine (Non-Alcoholic) – $25
Joy to those who love to explore the best culinary wine pairings but prefer to leave out the alcohol. This effervescent 0.0% Riesling is fresh and green, gorgeous in a flute next to a greasy red gingham paper. The pairing: An herbaceous turkey patty topped with sesame coleslaw, side of curly fries smothered in sriracha-garlic mayo.
- 2019 No Name Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir – $35
So very balanced, and super accessible to boot. In terms of taste, this wine is hitting way above its weight class, and we aren’t in the least bit surprised. Smooth, flavorsome, delicious – and evocative of a classic cherry cola on the tongue. The pairing: a beef cheeseburger with a slice of american cheddar and russet fries. Bacon optional.
- 2020 Norris Ribbon Ridge Dry Riesling – $35
This crunchy Oregonian Riesling is one of our favs here at Argaux. This is a truly special bottle within its genre, with new fruits bursting forth on the tongue with every sip. It’s wildly food-friendly, and a good one to reach for if you want an elevated eating experience whatever meal you’re having. The (burger) pairing: a chicken or beef patty topped with guacamole and pickled jalapenos, side of cajun tots.
- 2021 Château de Montfrin ‘Paumiste’ Rosé – $18
We hope to see this bottle making an entrance at every barbecue we attend this summer. It’s got that fruit/flower/mineral balance that just makes it such a good companion for even really rich foods. The pairing: Any base, absolutely smothered in grilled onions, and topped with a fried egg and fresh cilantro. Side of shoestring fries.
Other offerings from Argaux
Dive a little deeper into the wine counter for another classic comfort food with our Italian Food & Wine Gift Box.
This basket of goodies makes the perfect present for the foodies in your life, or as a little treat to your own taste buds that’ll take you on a well-deserved trip to Europe’s favorite boot.
Included are 1-2 bottles of Italian wine, along with artisanal rigatoni, to-die for organic olive oil, and a jar of delectable and totally traditional marinara. If you like, we can wrap it all up in our segmented canvas tote – you’ll be the envy of your local farmer’s market with your flowers and baguette protruding from their labeled pockets.
Visit our gift page for this and other special collections from the Argaux cellars.