The Best Wine To Pair With Burgers, According To Vanessa Price

Beers and burgers don't have to be a foregone conclusion when you're seeking out a comforting classic. Those who like the smooth appeal of a glass of full-bodied red wine have just as much right to indulge. Know that there is a perfect vintage out there waiting to be paired with your favorite burger. But where to begin? 

Vanessa Price, sommelier, author, and restaurateur of Mavericks Montauk, says you need to start with a proper evaluation of your burger. Price suggests you take a look at every element of the burger, from the cheese being employed to the thickness of the patty to the secret sauce that ties it all together. Each feature will work as a clue on which wine would best suit your burger. As Price describes it, "Thinking about matching intensities is a good way to look at it." So, how should you go about delineating the intensity level of your burger? And what wines best match these energy levels? 

A red wine that matches your burger's energy

Breaking Price's theory down into practical usage, consider one of the more popular burgers out there — McDonald's "Big Mac" —  and what wine she suggests you pair with it. As stated in the title of her book, "Big Macs & Burgundy," Price finds that a pinot noir from the Burgundy region of France offers the perfect balancing note to the light, acidic flavors in the Big Mac. 

"McDonald's special sauce has a tang to it that a fresh young Bourgogne rouge complements well," she says. "Because the patties are thinner and lighter in texture and intensity, I wouldn't want to do a red that's too heavy because it would overpower." This mindset also works with lighter burgers that have thin patties and acidic, bright condiments. 

Things change, however, when evaluating a richer, heftier burger like Burger King's Quarter Pounder. Here, Price recommends a more full-bodied wine with plenty of tannins to complement its rich, fatty notes. A strong Tuscan red should do the trick, as its fruit-forward aroma can add nuance to the decadent burger. Basically, the richer the burger, the bolder the wine. With such sommelier tips in mind, you can now pick the proper red wine to accompany your next burger craving.