Look to Mediterranean for wines to pair with turkey burger

  • Michael Austin
  • Chicago Tribune
5:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Austin360 Eats
Dreamstime/TNS/TNS
An aromatic wine with good acidity will be a good companion to the grilled turkey burgers. (Dreamstime/TNS)

For a burger influenced by the flavors of the Mediterranean — Kalamata olives, parsley, sage — look to the region for a wine as well. Drink local; it’s good advice. These white, rosé and red choices burst with flavor themselves.

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In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, 1 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Gently mix together with your hands. Shape into 4 burgers, each about 1/2-inch thick. Grill burgers over medium heat, 6 minutes. Gently flip; grill until center of burgers is nearly firm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Top with a slice of provolone; grill, covered, 1 minute. Serve on toasted buns with mayonnaise and pickles. Makes: 4 servings 

Recipe by JeanMarie Brownson 

Pairings by sommelier Alan Beasey, of The Purple Pig, as told to Michael Austin: 

2015 Cantina Terlano Terlaner Classico, Alto Adige, Italy: The village of Terlano has been making this beautiful blend of pinot bianco, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc for centuries. A perfect match for poultry, especially this hearty version, this wine is full bodied yet fresh, with aromas of cardamom, white pepper and pink grapefruit. It also has flavors of ripe, tropical citrus, kiwi and apricot, and finishes with tongue-tickling acidity and a hint of fennel. 

2016 Proprieta Sperino Rosa del Rosa, Piedmont, Italy: Like the great reds of Barolo and Barbaresco, this wine is made primarily of the nebbiolo grape, giving it quite a bit of body and structure. Another regional grape, vespolina, is blended in to bring freshness and acidity. The wine features aromas of ripe strawberries, rose petals and dried herbs, plus flavors of rich fruit balanced by tart acidity and minerality, all leading to a long, complex finish. 

2012 Kir-Yianni Ramnista, Naousa, Greece: The grilled meat, olives and fresh herbs in this dish are perfect for the xinomavro grape that makes this wine. Xinomavro roughly translates to “acid and black,” and both characteristics come through here. Aromas of black cherry, violets and wild blackberries spring from the glass. On the palate, those black fruits are joined by hints of black olives, tobacco and tar — juicy and savory, just like a good turkey burger.

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