Best Wine with Beef Burgers

Burgers are one of the most versatile foods out there, and it’s not hard to find a wine that will pair with them perfectly. Whether you’re grilling at home or going out for a fancy dinner, we’ve got the perfect wine for every type of burger.

Medium-bodied red wines and Beef Burgers

When it comes to pairing wine with beef burgers, medium-bodied red wines are the way to go. Red wines with a medium body will complement the full flavor of your beef burger while also shining through on their own as they complement the various flavors in your sandwich. The same goes for cheeseburgers or hamburgers. Red wines with a medium body are best for these classic American foods.

If you’re looking to pair your burger with a nice red wine, we recommend something with fruit notes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of your go-to wines for a burger. It’s full-bodied and has some tannin, which pairs perfectly with a juicy burger. Cabernet Sauvignon also has spicy notes that will cut through the fat in your beef patty without overpowering it. This makes it an ideal choice for pairing with burgers. If you’re looking for a good Cabernet Sauvignon, try one of the following:

Substance ‘Cs’ Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

From the winery itself, “Classic Cabernet Sauvignon. Currant, blackberry, cigar box with touches of chocolate, cedar, and pencil lead. Full flavored & just so damn good. I should raise the price!”

Château Lynch-BagesPauillac (Grand Cru Classé) 2016

It exhibits a deep red color with notes of dark fruit, cassis, blackcurrants, and a distinctive hint of mint. On the palate, it is full in body with ripe tannins and cassis throughout. The finish is long.

Flat Top Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. It is distinctly dark fruit on the palate with cocoa and vanilla notes. It has gentle spices like nutmeg and cassis. The finish is smooth, long, and velvety.

Merlot

Merlot with beef burgers is a classic pairing that works beautifully. The wine is full-bodied and rich, with hints of cherry and chocolate. It has a nice hint of spice and pepper, which makes it an ideal match for a burger patty. The tannins in the wine will help to cut through the fat of the burger, making it a great pairing. Try one of these Merlots with your burger:

Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Merlot 2019

This mountainside Napa red, from the historic estate Mayacamas, has 5% cabernet franc in the blend that seems to lift the herbal notes on the nose. Bright blueberry fruit is balanced by savory mushroom and pencil-lead flavors that are brilliantly held by the acidity and fine firm tannins that will allow this to age.

Arietta 2019 Merlot “Hudson” Carneros Napa

The 2019 Merlot Hudson Vineyard is full of dark fruit, chocolate, and other savory notes that add complexity to the wine. The wine has a fruity bouquet, with aromas of fresh blueberries and raspberries mixed with vanilla and oak.

Château Lyonnat Emotion, Lussac Saint-Emilion, 2016

The wine’s deep and intense ruby color is accented by a powerful nose with aromas of black fruits, blackcurrant, and darker berries. Notes of toasty oak lend complexity to an already complex bouquet. 

The wine’s aroma and flavor are bold, yet elegant. The woodsy scent of truffles lingers on the palate after each sip is swallowed.

Light red wines and Beef Burgers

A great pairing for beef burgers is a light-bodied red wine. When pairing with food, think about what flavors you want to bring out in each item: do you want something sweet and fruity? Tart and acidic? Or mellow and smooth?

Your best bets for light-bodied red wines are Pinot Noir or Gamay. Both of these wines have an earthy aroma with hints of fruitiness, which will enhance but not overwhelm the flavor profile of your beef burger.

Try pairing with one of the following:

Pinot Noir

2016 Domaine Lecheneaut Les Pruliers

This is towards the more expensive end of the price range but no doubt this is an exceptional wine. Les Pruliers has a strong color. The wine offers aromas of fresh red fruit, wild prunes, and licorice. As it ages, it adds depth and roundness. It has aromas of cocoa, and smoked meat.

2019 Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge

More affordable is the Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Rouge. This is an organic pinot noir that’s delicate, easy to drink, and naturally delicious. It has a fresh, crunchy, summer pudding fruit flavor with crisp acidity and just lip-smacking moreishness. And because it’s low in sulfur, it’s great for summer or winter drinking.

2018 Corazza Pinot Nero

At the lower end of the price range is the Pinot Nero. This is a unique wine from Friuli, a region in northeastern Italy. It’s made from the pinot noir grape and is unlike other pinot noirs you might be used to. It’s light, bright, and easy to drink.

Gamay

Georges Descombes Morgon (Beaujolais, France)

A simply outstanding Beaujolais with a floral bouquet and aromas of red berry fruits. The flavors are similarly of red berries with a floral undertone. Light to medium in body, the acidity is high in this very drinkable wine.

Scar of The Sea Topotero Vineyard Gamay, (San Luis Obispo, California)

From the winery,Think blood orange, peppercorn, and fresh strawberry”.

Critic tasting note: (2020 vintage) “Transparent in the glass, this herby display of Gamay from a very coastal vineyard fascinates with aromatic layers of tarragon, forest floor, uncracked peppercorn, and pine needle trampled into muddy soil on the nose. Tart berry and plum flavors pop on the sip, where green sage and wild earth elements carry into the finish. Matt Kettmann” – 94/100Wine Enthusiast

Adroit Gamay (San Benito County)

Another great Gamay from California and exceptional value too.

Critic tasting note: (2019 vintage) “Freshly smashed strawberry and lively hibiscus aromas meet with white pepper, pine needle, and light soil on the nose of this bottling. The palate’s texture is extremely taut, releasing red-currant, white-peppercorn, and tart red-plum flavors in waves of expression. Matt Kettmann” – 94/100Wine Enthusiast

Sparkling Wine and Beef Burgers

Sparkling wine is a great choice for burgers. It’s got the acidity and structure to cut through the meat’s richness, but it has enough body to complement the texture of a burger without overwhelming it. Plus, its bubbles make you feel like you’re having fun while eating your burger.

For example, try pairing sparkling wines with beef burgers topped with cheese or bacon. The fizziness acts as a palate cleanser between bites while also balancing out some of those rich flavors in your mouth. If you’re eating mushrooms on top of your burger, sparkling wine will help bring out their earthiness.

It doesn’t have to be Champagne either. In fact, it is better to select a nice Prosecco to pair with your burger. The good news is they are widely available and offer great value. Try these excellent examples:

Bottega ‘Gold’ Prosecco Brut

Critic tasting note: “Packaged in what looks like a solid gold bottle, this easy sparkler offers fresh acidity and clean fruit aromas. The gold packaging gives this particular bottle a sassy, luxurious competitive edge.” – 85/100Wine Enthusiast

Bisol Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG

Award tasting note: (2021 vintage) “Melon and pear drop foaming creation with a sweet edge and citrus balance.” – SilverInternational Wine Challenge

Masottina Prosecco di Treviso Brut

Prosecco isn’t generally expensive anyway but this one provides even more value. An absolute bargain given the quality of the wine on offer.

Award tasting note: “Clean, fresh, floral notes with lovely lime and citrus flavors on the palate. – Panel Chair: Clive Barlow MW , Co-Chair: Oz Clarke” – BronzeInternational Wine Challenge

Sauvignon Blanc and Beef Burgers

Sauvignon blanc works with beef burgers because it’s a white wine with a lot of acidity. That acidity can cut through the richness of the meat while also complementing its saltiness. Sauvignon blanc is also fruity, which will bring out some of the other flavors on your burgers, such as herbs or cheese.

These are all excellent examples of Sauvignon blanc:

Bread & Butter North Coast Sauvignon Blanc

This Sauvignon Blanc has bright aromas of lemon zest and hints of tropical fruit, lively flavors with citrus notes followed by a rich texture and a clean finish.

2021 Decoy California Sauvignon Blanc

Aromas of pineapple, lemon, and green apple lead the way for this crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Underneath those fresh scents is a layer of lime zest that adds another exciting dimension to what you taste, which lingers in your mouth long after each sip.

Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc 2017

This Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of ripe kiwi, lemon, and lime accented by hints of green apples. The palate is full and creamy with a rich mouthfeel that is balanced by crisp acidity.

Riesling and Beef Burgers

Riesling is a German white wine that is best served with beef burgers. This sweet, fruity option is an excellent choice for sweeter or spicy burgers of all types. It is especially good with the charred taste of a burger that has been grilled over an open flame. The sweet fruitiness of the wine will help balance out any spice you add to your burgers, and it will also complement the savory flavors of beef.

Some good examples:

Georg Albrecht Schneider Niersteiner Riesling Kabinett 2017

This Kabinett is a fresh, crisp wine with lingering sweetness balanced by tart lemon-lime acidity. Delicate wisps of smoke and earth lend touches of complexity throughout, adding dimensions to its fruity character.

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese

Spätlese Riesling is richer and more intense in flavor than Kabinett. It comes with a lively minerality that perfectly balances the bright white peach and lemon fruit you’ll find here. Worth seeking out.

Ransom Sunnyside Vineyard Riesling (Willamette Valley of Oregon)

From the vineyard themselves, “This single vineyard, old vine bottling from the South Salem Hills is a classic, terroir-revealing Riesling. Opening with fresh fruit aromas of key lime and pineapple, the palate offers vivid acidity and flavors of Meyer lemon zest and candied ginger wrapped around a mineral vein. The wine finishes fresh and bright, with a beguiling note of honeysuckle blossom. A delight to drink now, but also exceedingly age-worthy.” 

Conclusion

If you’re going to make a plain old beef burger, then Merlot is the best wine for you. It’s got a lot of flavors and goes very well with beef. If you are into more classic toppings of cheese and bacon then I’d suggest Sauvignon blanc to get the best pairing. Flame-grilled burgers will work best with Riesling.

My personal recommendation is Merlot. The balanced fruit and the tannins that work so well with the proteins in the beef make for a classic.

If you are looking to make your own burgers at home, I recommend you try ‘How to make the perfect burger’ from The Dorset Meat Company. You can’t beat these for melt-in-the-mouth burgers.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out the Best Wine with Brisket and the Best Wine with Chili con Carne.