This week we've rounded up our favorite burgers and paired them with wines calculated to complement each one's unique savor. With the exception of an exceptional New Zealand sauv blanc, which goes for about $20, all our picks are in the $8 to $10 range.
2008 Hey Mambo Sultry Red
Pairs with: A classic medium-rare cheeseburger with tomato, red onion and dill pickle
Hey Mambo is a real party animal: vivacious, gregarious, robust and bawdy but civilized, just rambunctious enough to hold its own with a big juicy burger.
2008 Snoqualmie Whistle Stop Red
Pairs with: Blue cheese cheeseburger
This cabernet-merlot blend from Washington's Columbia Valley shows lovely fig, raisin and raspberry, combining plenty of fruit with just enough spice to complement a burger smothered in this pungent cheese and served on a grilled onion roll.
2008 Dievolino Sangiovese di Toscana
Pairs with: Grilled portobello mushroom "burger" topped with mozzarella, roasted red peppers and a sprinkle of Italian herbs
The winemaker describes this vibrant and light-bodied red with a big burst of fruit as "Chianti Classico in its infancy." Its lush ripe blackberry, blackberry jam and dark chocolate palate made us swoon.
2010 Alamos Malbec
Pairs with: Green chile and queso blanco cheeseburger
A cold Negro Modelo beer from Mexico would go down well with this assertive burger, too, but the perfect wine has got to be this frisky young red from Argentina's celebrated Mendoza region. It is supple and smooth but with a nice black pepper edge and tons of ripe black fruit.
2010 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Pairs with: Ground turkey and Swiss cheeseburger
The milder flavor of this sandwich allows this big beautiful sauv blanc to shine while still complementing the burger perfectly. It shows the classic New Zealand grapefruit and gooseberry nose, but ripe melon, abetted by a bit of lime, dominates that zingy pair on the palate. A cool flinty edge and resurgent gooseberry finish this wine in high style.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.