Sizzling, juicy, grilled beef burgers topped with sauteed onions and peppers; Lots of mustard and ketchup dripping off the edges…
An equally juicy, dripping-with-flavor wine is needed to gulp down in between burger bites!
Winemaker Joel Gott provides just that in his Alakai blend of mostly Grenache along with some
Syrah, Mourvedre and Petite Sirah. The majority of Grenache is sourced from Monterey County where the ocean winds stress the vines enough to create fewer clusters, and therefore more concentrated flavors in those grapes. (Joel uses this same technique to create an amazing Grenache from southern France. His Shatter (shatterwine.com) comes from heavily stressed vines and creates an over-the-top, super-concentrated wine. A must-try wine!)
Other Grenache grapes come from Knights Valley (Sonoma) where the juice is darker and more tannic. The Syrah adds some dark color and fruit with pepper spice, and Petite Sirah and Mourvedre add structure and tannin.
Alakai, named after Joel’s wife Sarah’s dog, brings enticing aromas of dark berries with a waft of smoke and cinnamon. The palate oozes black cherry and spice in a lush, approachable style. It is not a light, simple drink however. The sturdy alcohol (14.4%) gives it strength.
The spices on the nose and the palate nicely accompany all the burger flavors. Spicy Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Burgers (recipe from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen cookbook) also topped with all the fixings, were delicious with this wine too. The veggie burgers’ cumin and garlic were perfect partners to the spicy goodness of Alakai.
Joel Gott recommends his wine with a double cheeseburger or a grilled chicken sandwich. I was not brave enough to attempt a double cheeseburger, but our beef and veggie burgers were perfect for a warm Sunday afternoon, family and friends, and big glasses of Alakai!