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  • andychalk

(Lem)berger and burgers

Tasting the 2018 Kiona Vineyards Estate Lemberger, Red Mountain, WA ($17) with the food the winery family suggests.

by Andrew Chalk

Ever had a wine made from a grape called lemberger? Chances not, as it is a niche varietal virtually unheard of outside its native Germany (where it is also known as Blaufränkisch). Fortunately, John Williams and Jim Holmes planted some in Washington State in the Red Mountain AVA and Kiona Vineyards, now run by the third generation of the Williams family, has made it one of their most popular wines.


This example is a soft and richly fruity wine with a translucent ruby hue. It is medium-bodied and would substitute for a pinot noir or tempranillo in any meal. It is a good choice for those seeking low tannins as it presents itself as much older than it really is. At $17 it is a bargain.


I didn’t have to think about what to pair it with. The family sent me a recipe for a burger from Seattle chef John Staples Uneeda Burger. The recipe caught my eye for its red onion jam and brioche bun. I gave it a shot, so we have (Lem)berger and the burger!


Start with the red onion jam. Sauté red onions with sugar. Create a sweet n' sour effect by adding vinegar, chopped thyme, and seasoning.

Sauté the bison patties.

This is our wine...

Build the burger with the bacon on the brioche bun, follow with the patty, top with cheddar cheese, and dollop the onion jam on top.

Put the burger's hat on and we are done.

This recipe worked with Kiona's lemberger. Recommended.

Note that I don't have a clue what to do with the mayonnaise in the recipe below.

Uneeda’s Bison Burger Recipe By Chef Scott Staples

  • 1 Brioche Bun

  • 1 6oz Bison Patty

  • 2 Tbls- Mayonnaise <== where is this used?

  • 1 slice of Beecher’s cheddar cheese

  • 2 slices of Crispy Bacon

  • 1/4 cup of Red Onion Jam (recipe follows)


Red Onion Jam

Makes 2 cups, leftovers keep for up to one week in the refrigerator

  • 2lbs Red Onion

  • 1/8 Cup Brown sugar

  • 2 Tbsp Butter

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

  • 1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar

  • 1/2 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Thyme

  • Salt and pepper

Procedure: Julienne the red onions. Add all ingredients except the vinegar, thyme, and salt and pepper to a pot and simmer slowly over a medium low heat stirring regularly until the onions are very soft and turn heat off.

Then immediately add all other ingredients and season to taste stirring gently until everything is incorporated and seasoned appropriately.

Let cool overnight for best results.




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