Burgers getting a new kick with wine

Articles
August 28, 2009

Burgers getting a new kick with wine

Why are burgers and wine the rage today, when Burger King curtailed its attempt to pair the two more than a decade ago?

Why are burgers and wine the rage today, when Burger King curtailed its attempt to pair the two more than a decade ago?

What’s changed to elevate this All-American sandwich - the casual fare of regular guys and gals - into a worthy partner of a Chablis or Cabernet?

First, celebrity chefs are behind today’s move. In New York City, Danny Meyer, the proprietor of Union Square Café, Blue Smoke and other fine eateries, is involved with Shake Shack (you’ll recognize the place by the long lines at Citi Field or Manhattan’s West Side) - which features burgers, shakes, and half-bottle selections of quality merlot and pinot noir wines.

Four-star chef Daniel Boulud suggests that his $32 burger be paired with “either a relatively youthful Haut Medoc or a Rioja Riserva with a bit of age on it,” reported Wine News. The same story also notes a $5,000 tab for a bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus with the Kobe beef and black truffle Fleur Burger at chef Hubert Keller’s Sleek Steak House.

Clearly, there’s sophistication about the pairings today that didn’t exist in the 1990s.
 
Second, quick-serves like Burgerville in southwestern Washington and Oregon, and Taylor’s Automatic Refresher in the Bay Area region of northern California, have turned to local wines to begin to create new appeals. 

At Burgerville’s Salmon Creek location, sommelier Christine Tran has brought in the Ponzi Tavola Pinot Noir, O’Reilly Pinot Gris and the Eyrie Vineyards Chardonnay to accompany its locally sourced and sustainably farmed food ingredients, noted QSR Magazine. 

Meanwhile, Taylor’s has a wine bar with selections from Joel Cott Wines, which is another venture of one of the entrepreneurs behind the burger eateries (which serve ahi tuna burgers too). His wife, Sarah, is a winemaker who sources from all over California, according to The Press Democrat.

If this trend is to migrate to supermarkets beyond Whole Foods and comparatively few others, it will probably take branding the offer, training meat specialists and wine stewards to suggest specific pairings to customers, and creating informative materials that make it seem more relevant to households looking to save money.