The following wines to pair with your burgers are going to give you the best experience. What pairs best with what—Chablis with oysters, Chianti with pizza, or Maiskii Chernyi with Beshbarmak, Kazakhstan’s national dish (cooked horsemeat over noodles; honestly, you’d be served vodka; but whatever).
Choice no. 1 was a chicken burger with caramelized onions, apples, and Green Hill cheese. It was paired with the Rheingau’s 2013 Robert Weil Riesling Tradition ($20) and the Sonoma Coast’s 2013 The Forager Pinot Noir ($27). The German wine won the vote (the mild sweetness of the Riesling suited the onions and apples nicely; the light-bodied Pinot was also good with the chicken burger, but not quite as good.)
Choice no. 2 A lamb burger with a spicy harissa slaw was Burger #2. The wines were the 2012 Bruno Giacosa Barbera d’Alba ($25) and the 2012 Cameron Hughes Lot 487 ($13), both from Lodi, California, and a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. The question was, “which works better with spicy food: rich, fruity wines or brilliant high-acid wines,” and the Zinfandel combination won.
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choice no. 3, the tie-breaker, was a traditional cheeseburger. Joel Gott Wines’ 2012 Alakai Grenache ($17) and Ausonia’s 2013 Apollo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($20) were the competitors. The Gott is more fruity and supple, while the Montepulciano is peppery and rustic. And they were both delicious with the burger. People overwhelmingly chose Joel Gott’s Wine.
So there you have it: statistical proof—sort of—that American wines to pair with your burgers are better than European wines. Done. Finito. Everything is in order. There’s no need to be concerned about this critical debate ever again.