Yesterday we made bison burgers in the late afternoon on an unseasonably warm day in early March. We served them on a bed of lettuce dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a thick tortilla, topped them with Dijon mustard, aged New Zealand cheddar, and grilled red onions. They were delicious with a 2005 Bordeaux from St. Emilion, most likely a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
For lunch today, we heated and served the 2 leftover 1/4-lb burgers, again on a bed of salad greens dressed with olive oil and balsamic, with the aged cheddar and Dijon mustard and Greek yogurt as condiments. This is known as a burger salad at our house, and it’s a frequent use of leftover cooked burgers here, since we usually make and cook 4 burgers for 2 people. (While I undoubtedly could consume twice the amount of meat in one sitting and avoid having leftovers, neither my cardiovascular system nor my figure would be highly appreciative of that, I’m fairly certain.)
With the burger salad, we served a 2007 Albarino, and it was lovely. I would recommend most any medium-bodied white wine with this or similar meals – Chardonnay or Viognier would be delicious. A rose would be phenomenal. My inner oenologist/aroma-flavor chemist understands that the pairing works due to the balance of acid and fat in this pairing. The acidity of the wine complements the acidic elements of the salad, and is cut by the fatty elements of the cheese and meat. The meat acts as a foil to the wine in two respects, the fat contrasts with the acid, and the grilled crust on the burger is a strong flavor contrast to the wine. While perhaps a seemingly non-traditional pairing, the science makes perfect sense. The best pairings are either complementing or contrasting aroma/flavor or textural elements of the food and wine.
Of course, the Bordeaux from the night before (I would serve it slightly chilled) or any other red that would be smashing with burgers would be perfect as well. Wine and food pairing is so easy, so not rocket science. The “drink what you like” mantra could not be more spot-on. Oenophiles have a tendency to take these things too seriously, and I am reminded that sometimes the unexpected or non-traditional pairings are the most interesting, and surprisingly delicious!
So, yes, white wine with red meat. Highly recommended.