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Pairing: Pinot noir with burger sliders

If you are planning to pair a burger with wine instead of, say, beer, our Wine of the Week, Kenwood Vineyards 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($20) is a great choice.

Undercurrents of spice meander through seductive fruit — red raspberry, black raspberry, dried strawberry and a hint of olallieberry — as an earthy succulence forms an engaging foundation, a resonance with a burger whether it is grilled over coals or cooked on a griddle. There's plenty of acid to keep you refreshed throughout your burger indulgence.

It's absolutely perfect with wild Pacific King Salmon. Add some cherries — as salsa, as relish, as a simple salad with shallots and basil — and you have a match made in food lover's heaven. It is also delicious with duck so if you happen to have some ground duck on hand or can grind some duck thigh and leg, you'll be thrilled when you pair this wine with a duck burger. A lamb burger is a great match, too.

For today's recipe, I'm suggesting sliders, bite-sizes burgers that have become extremely trendy in the last few years. Here, with a nubbin of flavored butter tin each patty to keep grass-fed beef moist, they are a perfect match with the wine. The addition of butter, which is an excellent technique for any sized burger, melts as the meat cooks, lubricating it and distributing the flavors of the butter. It is the best defense against dry meat, especially if you prefer your burgers cooked medium well.

Hamburger Sliders with Pinot Noir Butter

Serves 2, easily doubled

1 small shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

— Black pepper in a mill


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