June 24, 2017
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Pair it with: Syrah and Mushroom Blended Burger

By: Jeff James
February 17, 2017

Pair it with:

Syrah and Mushroom Blended Burger

As I am still trying to lose those pesky “party pounds,” which have proven to be one of the most lingering gifts that I received this holiday season, I am a big fan of this month’s Mighty Mushroom Blended Burger recipe. I appreciate being able to enjoy the toothsome heft of a beefy burger while knowing I am cutting out some of the calories and fat that make this classic sandwich so appealing. Matching this lower-guilt burger with a red wine, which will enhance the “Mighty Mushroom” portion of the meal, is a formula for happy and satisfying dining.

Syrah is a wine varietal which can show a wide range of characteristics, depending on where the grapes are grown. An integral component of many of the famous blended red wines from the Rhone region in France, it is also produced as a single-grape wine in many other parts of the world. Even though it is called Shiraz in Australia, it is the same grape as what we refer to as Syrah here and in Europe. We have some wonderful examples produced right here in California, with discernible variation based upon the temperature of the growing region. Some of my favorites, and those which I think will pair beautifully with our Mushroom Burger, come from the cooler, coastal parts of our state such as the Central Coast and Sonoma Coast.

These cooler-region Syrahs will often show some very alluring meaty, smoky and leather flavors which play very nicely with the pungent and earthy tones brought to the dish by the mushrooms. Cool weather Syrah is a medium-bodied wine which won’t overpower the delicate mushrooms, but which contains enough tannic structure and spicy components to stand up to the fat and the texture of the ground beef. The delicious berry, cherry and other fruit flavors found in Syrah will enhance the enjoyment of the meat and in fact could be absolutely delicious when matched with the right chutneys or sauces.

So pick up a bottle of delicious, locally grown and produced Syrah, prepare a batch of these delicious and healthy burgers, and enjoy a guilt-free and joyful meal. Cheers!

Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at or