The Wine Country palate cannot survive on a burger alone.

To be drop dead scrumptious, a burger needs to have the pizzazz
of a great red.

Over the years the Press Democrat’s Hamburger Reds Tasting has
become a ritual, as well as a lifeline for readers searching for reds
with great punch.

What follows is a look at the winners for the past three years,
with a glimpse as to why they had the best burger appeal.

2012 — Tablas Creek Vineyard, 2011 Patelin de Tablas, Paso Robles
Rhone Blend, 13.7 percent alcohol, $20. This was the best match and in
fact made the flavors pop in a Niman Ranch Black Angus Beef burger
that was 80 percent lean, 20 percent fat. The Rhone blend, with
refreshing acidity, had notes of tart cherry, rhubarb and cinnamon.

2011 —  Sean Thackrey’s Pleiades XX Old Vines California Red Wine,
14.4 percent alcohol, $23. It was the best match with a 9-ounce King
Burger from Santa Rosa’s Superburger. The Pleiades worked well with
the char-broiled Superburger because the blend’s bright notes of
cranberry and pomegranate were a refreshing contrast to the juicy

2010 — Trentadue, 2006 “Old Patch Red” North Coast, 14.9 percent,
$14. The trio of grapes in the blend is what gave it an edge. The
rustic Tentadue made the perfect burger wine because the zin-based
blend is intensified with petite sirah, and the carignane gives it
acidity and juiciness.

Now go make your burger drop dead scrumptious with a great pick of your own.