Pairing: Zin for your 4th of July burger

The bold exuberance and meaty quality of Bogle Vineyards Old Vine Zin makes it an extraordinary match for gourmet burgers.|

Our Wine of the Week, Bogle Vineyards 2013 California Old Vine Zinfandel ($11), is big, bold, rich and ripe, with exhilarating aromas and a lively exuberance that suggests the wine might dance itself out of the glass.

On first sip, there’s a burst of red raspberry, with ripe pomegranate and voluptuous red plum following. Next comes little bursts of both black and white peppercorns, allspice, sweet anise and juniper berry. On the palate, as tannins stretch out into their long finish, there’s a layered, luxurious quality that encourages you to relax, linger and have another sip. It is an ideal red wine for summer, especially if you drink it at cellar temperature, not hot-day room temperature.

There is also a slightly meaty quality to the wine, a chewiness and pleasing funkiness that is, I think, key to why it is such a great match for grilled ground meats, in burgers, meatballs, crepinettes and caillettes. Indeed, if you happen to have venison on hand, a venison crepinette is an extraordinary match and I’ve posted a recipe for it at Eat This Now at

When it comes to burgers, you have lots of options. A grass-fed beef burger topped with caramelized onions, grilled and julienned sweet peppers or both is a fabulous match. A duck burger scented with sweet spices also hooks up deliciously with this seductive quaffer.

For today’s recipe, I’m inspired by that meaty quality, which suggests that certain ripe cheeses will make the marriage of wine and meat soar.

Burgers with Gorgonzola Butter, Red Onions & Onion Chutney

Serves 6

4 ounces local butter, at room temperature

2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

- Black pepper in a mill

1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley or minced chives

1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 pounds fresh local ground lamb, duck or grass-fed beef

- Kosher salt

6 rolls of choice

- Onion chutney, commercial or homemade

Set aside 1 tablespoon of the butter and put the rest into a small bowl. Add the cheese, several turns of black pepper and the parsley or chives and mix with a fork until smooth. Set a sheet of wax paper on a work surface, tip the butter into it, roll it into a log, wrap tightly and refrigerate. This can be done a day or two in advance.

Put the remaining butter into a small sauté pan, set over medium low heat and, when the butter is melted, add the onion. Cook, turning now and then, until the onions are very limp and very fragrant, about 25 minutes. Do not let them brown. Season with salt and remove from the heat. This, too, can be done in advance but the onions should be warmed before serving.

To finish the burgers, put the meat into a mixing bowl and season very generously with black pepper and lightly with salt. Divide into 6 equal portions and shape into thick patties.

Working quickly, slice the butter into rounds and press a piece into the center of each patty, pressing the meat around it to enclose it completely. Set on a plate, cover with a sheet of wax paper and chill thoroughly.

Prepare a fire in an outdoor grill or heat a stovetop grill.

When the grill is ready, cook the patties quickly, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare, a little less for rare. Heat the rolls on the edge of the grill while the meat cooks.

To serve, pile onions on the bottom half of the buns, set the meat on top and crown with a very generous spoonful of onion chutney. Add the top half of the buns and enjoy right away.

Michele Anna Jordan has written 21 books to date, including the new “Good Cook’s” series. Email Jordan at You’ll find her blog, “Eat This Now,” at

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:
  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.