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Double-chile burger with cooling salsa needs smart wine match

By Michael Austin • May 19, 2017 at 7:00 AM

When spice and smoke come together on the plate, you know it’s going to be good.

In this burger, both types of chile provide the heat while the chipotle brings a smoky note. A bright avocado-tomatillo salsa cools them down. With all that going on, the wine needs some careful thought, like these choices from Oyster Bah sommelier Nate Redner.

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EAT THIS

DOUBLE-CHILE BURGERS

Mix together 1 pound ground beef; 1 jalapeno, minced; 1 chipotle chile, minced; and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Form into 4 patties, each 1 inch thick. For the salsa, stir together 1 avocado, chopped; 2 tomatillos, chopped; 2 tablespoons lime juice; and 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Season with salt. Mash the mixture a bit with a fork so it holds together on the burger. Cook the burger patties in a hot skillet over medium-high heat, flipping once, until browned and the desired doneness inside, about 4 minutes per side. Serve, topped with the salsa, in toasted buns. Makes: 4 servings

— Recipe by Joe Gray

DRINK THIS

Pairings by sommelier Nate Redner of Oyster Bah, as told to Michael Austin:

2013 Villa Creek High Road James Berry Vineyard, Paso Robles, California: Mainly mourvedre and syrah with rich grenache rounding out the blend, this red Rhone-style wine has savory herb notes plus dark berry fruit, cocoa powder, licorice and a fine tannin structure. Its ripe and stewed fruit character will match the heat and smoke of the chipotle peppers while its acidity will stand up to the fat in both the burger and the avocado mash.

2010 Pierre Gimonnet et Fils, Blanc de Blancs Gastronome, Champagne, France: Five years of aging before disgorgement makes this a weighty style of Champagne, perfect for burgers and spice. Citrus notes of ruby red grapefruit are followed by a smoke finish, mimicking the chipotle-in-adobo. Persistent effervescence will keep the burger from becoming overly rich. Open the bottle a little early, and keep it nicely chilled. Your patience will be rewarded with nuttiness and rich texture.

L. Mawby Grace Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan: Don’t underestimate Michigan bubbles! Larry Mawby has been making traditional method wines in northern Michigan since 1984, and he makes some top-notch bubbles. Grace is a nonvintage rosé of pinot noir that has a lovely shade of pale pink, and notes of wild strawberries, tart raspberries, herbaceous aromas and bright acidity to cut through the fat of the beef and avocado.

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©2017 Chicago Tribune

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