A short Guide to Wine & Burgers Part 1: Vegetarian and Vegan
A nice, big burger with a cold beer is unbeatable, right? Wrong. I offer you a whistle-stop, two-part guide to burger-friendly wines, plus some burger recipes to satisfy even the most discerning fast food connoisseur.
Part one of this guide is about veggie and vegan burgers. Meat-free burgers and vegan wines are becoming trendier by the minute. Vegan wines differ from other wines as they do not use animal products like egg white or gelatin proteins during the production process for clarification or filtration. Instead, vegan wines are either “fined” with activated charcoal or bentonite or left to self-clarify in time. This makes vegan wine an important option for veggies and vegans alike.
The trick to pairing vegan wine and veggie burgers is to identify the main ingredient or flavour, whether that might be meat-style soya, mushrooms, pulses, herbs or spices. Once you have done that, you can easily choose a wine accordingly. For example, take three basic, vegan bean burgers. When flavoured with Italian herbs like basil, a bean burger can be paired with a light, summery Pinot Noir rosé or even a Picpoul. On the other hand, a spicy Mexican style bean burger can sit nicely alongside a dry, fruity South African Chenin Blanc or a light Côte de Beaune Pinot Noir. By the same token, a curried bean burger would need a more aromatic wine match, like a zingy Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Simple enough, no? Now we can discuss some jazzier options…
If red wine is your favourite, a cheesy mushroom burger https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/mushroom-burgers/ can stand up to a full-bodied, oaked red. Try an aromatic Reserva Rioja or this ripe, fruity Escada Touriga Nacional. These wines can be paired with other cheese-based burger recipes, like a chilli halloumi burger https://www.kitchensanctuary.com/halloumi-burgers-with-sticky-chilli-sauce/, for example. A lighter mushroom burger without cheese is better suited to a silky Chablis to bring out some herbed, mineral notes.
Many of the meatier, vegan or vegetarian soya burgers can be paired with the same wines as you’d expect to accompany beef. A Cabernet Sauvignon, a Cabernet Merlot or a Corbières red make a good match with these meat replacements. If you are going for strong toppings like red onions or blue cheese, you can opt for a richer red with cocoa or red fruit notes, like this Argentinian blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
If you prefer a white wine, your best veggie burger options will be bean or pulse based, with lemony, herby flavours or aromatic oriental spices. My favourite vegan chickpea and sweetcorn burger https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/chickpea_and_sweetcorn_87660 is fantastic with an Australian Chardonnay or a Sauvignon-Chardonnay. If you like your chickpeas extra lemony, this Domaine Saint-Lannes Les Coquelicots Rosé is a good match. If you fancy a glass of vegan bubbly, go for a Charles Valendray Brut Premier Cru Champagne. Pair this peachy, crisp champagne with a Thai style tofu burger https://www.diannesvegankitchen.com/2018/06/06/thai-tofu-burgers-from-the-kitchens-of-yamchops/ to bring out the aromatic, slightly sweet notes of the spices.
To summarise, the golden rule is to think about the flavours in both the patty and the topping before you choose your wine. As easy as that sounds, burgers can have a lot going on, particularly meat-free burgers so go ahead and enjoy a bit of experimentation… Who doesn’t love a burger anyway? Now, the more carnivorous among us can move on to part two of this wine and burger guide – the meat and fish guide.
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