White wines to pair with your Fourth of July veggie burger

On the Fourth of July people celebrate their appetite for independence at the Weber, and the politically correct grill veggie patties alongside big beefy burgers.

With an eye to the holiday, The Press Democrat organized its annual “Burger” tasting but this year we decided to opt for the politically-?correct version. We focused on the veggie burger with a lineup of tasty whites to marry with it.

The top winner? The five-star rated show stopper –– the Smith Story, 2017 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc at $25. Other wines that showed well are the four-star rated Thumbprint Cellars, 2015 MRV Sonoma County White Wine at $35; the Fel, 2017 Anderson Valley Pinot Gris at $25; and the Nigl, 2017 Freiheit Gruner Veltliner at $19.

What makes these wines such tasty picks is their great minerality. It gives them a duality, allowing them to play back up to both versions of the veggie patty. The first one tries to imitate a big beefy burger, while the other is unapologetic, flush with vegetables.

The Smith Story is buoyed with bright acidity and infused with notes of lime, lemon and mineral. It’s light on its feet - ballet as opposed to tap.

The vintners, Eric Story and Ali Smith, work with consulting winemaker Katy Wilson, and they said their mission is to craft a mineral-driven sauvignon blanc.

The vintners decided they wouldn’t produce a sauvignon blanc unless they found vineyards that were similar in soil/rock and climate to France’s Loire Valley.

“If we could drink wines from Dagueneau every day we would,” Ali said. “The late Didier and his son (the current winemaker) have set the bar in our mind, one we hope to achieve one day for the Smith Story, too.

Didier Dagueneau was a winemaker in the Loire Valley who produced sauvignon blanc from the Pouilly Fumé appellation and he had a cult following.

Eric, 41, spent 18 years at K&L Wine Merchants in Northern California, with the last eight as the wine buyer for German, Loire, Alsace, Austria and Greek wine imports. He caught the wine bug while backpacking through Europe and took the leap into winemaking in 2002. Ali’s expertise is in hospitality, consumer marketing and national sales. The couple met at K&L and founded Smith Story Wine Cellars in 2013.

While the Smith Story sauvignon blanc will delight veggie burger fans, Ali said there are limitless possibilities in store with the wine.

“Our favorite pairing with our sauvignon blanc” Ali said, “is a good conversation, a nice wine glass and a comfy chair.”

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at or 707-521-5310.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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