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The Best Wines for Burgers

Next time you have a burger, instead of having a beer with it, try pairing it with a glass of wine. If your patty is beef and you have minimal toppings, a red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon should work just fine. However, if your burger is rich with toppings (mushrooms, tomatoes, sautéed onions…) then here are some tips to try out.

  • Spicy?

A wine with lower alcohol and less tannin will complement the spice without clashing or making it seem hotter. A full bodied rosé with a hint of sweetness would work well. Try one of the winners from our rose taste test.

  • Juicy and crunchy?

That probably means it’s on the lighter, fresher side. A bright, fruity Beaujolaiswould be a perfect accompaniment. (Look for one labeled Beaujolais-Villages or even with a specific village listed on the label.)

  • Big and bold?

If you’re thinking of adding in blue cheese, grilled onions, the works, you’ll want a spicier wine with more robust flavor to stand up to the toppings. Malbec, Zinfandel, and Côtes du Rhone (a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes) will all fit the bill. Just make sure that the alcohol levels aren’t too high—15% or more will weigh you down in more ways than one!

  • And what about whites?

Chardonnay would work well with most toppings (except spicy ones), especially full-bodied wines from California with a little acid zip. A bit of acidity helps to cut through the fattiness of the meat and any cheesy, creamy toppings. Bubbles are also great for lightening up heavier, salty foods (one of the reasons beer works so well). While some people swear by Champagne with burgers, a more budget-friendly option would be a Cava from Spain.

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