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So This is a Thing: Cheeseburger Wine

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[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Not too long ago, I was having burgers with my family at the local Irish pub. When the waitress asked for our drink orders, something possessed my aunt to inquire, "What wines do you have?"

"Well, we have red. And we have white."

She got wise and ordered a beer.

Do you drink wine with your burgers? After all, we have wine with steak all the time—how different is it when you're eating ground meat instead? Whether there's wine that's good specifically with burgers is another question, one that Rootstock Cellars seeks to answer with its Cheeseburger Red ($12.99).

Rootstock claims its California Petite Sirah, Barbera, and Syrah blend is "smooth and jammy, bursting with red fruit that so perfectly complements a slight char. The tannins are assertive, but won't knock you off your chair. " We'd say that's half-right; this is definitely a smooth and fruity sip, and it won't knock you off your chair, but that's because it's pretty mild, low in alcoholic heat, and not tannic at all.

Basically it's a slightly sweet, easy to drink red with just enough juiciness to play kindly to the salty richness of a fatty burger. I'd definitely take it as a pairing over ketchup—it's a lot less sweet, milder, allowing a burger to shine through easily.

So is this really a "cheeseburger wine?" If by that you mean a friendly and non-threatening bottle under $15, sure. But don't expect it to turn your burger into a $128 dry-aged ribeye. Maybe that pub waitress was on to something. I'll take a "red," please.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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