How to Pair Wine with All Your Summer Cookouts
Gone are the days when a bottle of wine with dinner was reserved just for fine dining. Today, more and more people are discovering the joy of pairing a glass of wine with charred, meaty, juicy goodness fresh off the grill. With the wide variety of wines available, it's easy to find a bottle that elevates the flavors of your go-to comfort foods, like burgers and hotdogs. But how to choose? Let Dedalus be your guide with this primer on how to pair wine perfectly, and which wines pair best with burgers and dogs. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to create delicious pairings for your next cookout.
How to Pair Wine Perfectly
Is it an art or a science? Some say a little bit of both. What matters the most, above all else, is your own taste. By playing around with wine and food you’ll soon learn what you like together. That said, certain wines definitely have the ability to complement certain foods. With a handful of pairing principles in your pocket, you can confidently pair wines with your favorite grilled foods.
What grows together goes together
It’s our most tried and true pairing method. You can always count on wines pairing incredibly well with dishes from the same region. Why? Because generally, regional cuisines evolved alongside the wines made in those places. The wines were made for the foods of the region, and vice versa. Today, oceans apart, we can enjoy the traditional flavors of a Chilean churrasco with juicy Pipeño, or a rich white Burgundy with coq au vin, and feel how the flavors work to complement each other effortlessly.
Fat and acid
Great dishes are a balance of flavor and texture, and fat is an essential part of that. With rich fatty cheeses, meats, or fried foods, wines with vibrant acidity act like a karate chop through all that richness. Champagne and fried chicken is a classic example.
Tannin with fat
Tannic wine pairs well with fatty dishes. Instead of clinging to your mouth, grippy tannins cling to the fat in meat, cheese, or oils. So when you have a juicy, fatty meat dish, pair it with a tannic wine like a Sangiovese or Nebbiolo!
Sweet and spicy
Spicy food is notoriously difficult to pair with wine, as it can blow out your taste buds and make it harder to appreciate a wine’s flavors. But if you pair a spicy Thai dish or hot Italian sausage with a wine that has a slight sweetness to it, you’ll find that the little bit of residual sugar helps temper the spice and creates an insanely delicious drinking experience.
These aren’t the only rules to keep in mind, but they’re great ones to get you started. Now for the wines!
What Wines Pair Well with Burgers and Dogs
Based on the pairing principles we’ve outlined, what wines would go well with burgers and hot dogs? We know that burgers are meaty and juicy. They have acidic condiments and fatty cheese and meat. Hot dogs are salty, and can be loaded up with anything from cheese and spicy jalapeños to traditional mustard and ketchup. Knowing this, we would recommend a couple of different wines for these grilled foods.
But first, we would be doing you wrong if we didn’t make one overarching recommendation that will be a home run no matter what you’re eating this summer: rosé. There’s a misconception that rosé is blah, overly sweet or watered down, only good as a sweaty poolside sipper. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Take the rosés of Provence, with its notes of strawberry, honeydew melon, celery, and rose petals. Or a fuschia-tones rosato from Spain or Italy. These are food wines, meant to be enjoyed with a filling meal. And they’re incredibly good with laid-back fare like burgers and dogs.
Pairing Wines with Burgers
Beef Burgers: When it comes to beef burgers, nothing beats the dynamic duo of a juicy patty and a bombastic, fruit-forward-Beaujolais. This wine's light to medium body, juicy acidity, and notes of red berries work insanely well with the savory, rich flavors of the beef. Alternatively, a Northern Rhone Syrah, with its smoky undertones and hints of dark fruit, can add an extra layer of complexity to this classic cookout meal.
Veggie Burgers: Don't let the lighter flavors of veggie burgers fool you - they can still hold their own when paired with the right wine. A Pinot Noir, with its light body and flavors of ripe cherries and strawberries, can provide a delightful contrast to the savory flavors of the burger.
Pairing Wines with Hotdogs
Classic Hot Dog: For a classic hot dog, look to sparkling wines. There’s something audacious about pairing a no-frills hot dog with a glass of Champagne. If you’re looking for Champagne complexity without the price tag, check out Cremant de Jura or Cremant de Bourgogne. Or, dive into the wild world of pét-nat. These sultry, brightly-hued wines have a looser bubble than Champagne and bring a fun, flavorful energy to your classic hot dog.
Chicago Dog: The complexity of a Chicago Dog, with its plethora of toppings and burst of different flavors, calls for a wine that can keep up. A Riesling, with its bright acidity and touch of sweetness, is just the ticket. The wine's crisp apple and citrus notes can cut through the richness of the dog, while its hint of sweetness can balance the tangy pickles and relish. It's a playful, unexpected pairing that just works.
Remember, while there are certain principles to guide wine pairing, trusting your palate is the ultimate key. Your own preferences should always take center stage. To help you get started on this delicious journey, we've curated a collection of wines that pair wonderfully with burgers, hotdogs, and other grilled foods. These wines are a fantastic addition to your summer cookouts, promising to elevate the flavors of your favorite dishes. So, raise a glass to the joy of discovery and the anticipation of many delightful pairings to come.