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It was inevitable that I would want to test the heralded and native red grape of Umbria, before departing the region, with… a hamburger! We all saw it coming. Despite Sagrantino di Montefalco probably never encountering the likes of a 25˚ hamburger, the two together seemed apt…foredestined. My plan would come to fruition (some minor alterations included) with a mutual buddy from Michigan, while visiting a friend who had recently relocated from the Great Lake State, to his new apartment in Franklin Village.

Close to the UCB—Upright Citizens Brigade theatre—our friend (Harry) and his girlfriend found a fitting dwelling that suited their artsy and comedic aspirations. A little pocket of Hollywood that I never knew existed but seemed to have everything I had always imagined Hollywood being without the commercial aspects interfering. We arrived with a decanted bottle of 2006 Tinarelli Sagrantino di Montefalco in tote. We took a look around their place, surveying the handiwork and decorative touches that were applied by his girlfriend. We caught up for a moment and then discussed our lunch options, settling on the closest eatery that had a hamburger.

Within a few minutes walking we had arrived at Franklin & Company. Mostly a beer-heavy gastropub, the tavern poured some carefully chosen wines, but we were sticking to our Italian seven-fifty. We paid a hefty corkage on a bottle I had picked up for only ten dollars at a Trader Joe’s (Shhh! Don’t tell my employers). I was unable to wrap my head around the absurdly low asking price for the Umbrian red wine, yet I snatched it up as if I were stealing it. While I wasn’t sure of its provenance or quality, I was confident that it was the best fit for the casual lunch. It also happened to serve my thesis for the months of dedicating myself to central Italy’s other red wines.

Minutes in we hit a slight snag; the burgers that the tavern offered were not of beef—no, that was Thursday on a themed evening—but of poultry. I had it set that I wanted a burger and was not about to fold over a turkey patty. To be fair, the meal was a play on the Southwest tropes, with tomatillos, roasted onions, and pepper jack cheese, cradled within a signature gourmet brioche roll. I settled. There was a lot used to mask the weak flavors of a turkey patty and we nearly all decided to order the turkey burgers, save for one, who remained doubtful. For two dollars more I traded up my side of potato chips in favor of Brussels sprouts.

A measured glance revealed the Johnnie Walker stairs and the skylights that made Franklin & Company unique. While we talked playoff hockey and studied the environment, our food arrived. Nice presentation, my brioche bun gleamed brilliantly under the sunlight and the other plates looked equally neat. We doled out the wine and were ready to get started.

The turkey burger was nothing special, the flavors masquerading above the patty, as anticipated, helped make the transition a little smoother but in the end, it was still a turkey burger. However, the brioche bun finally found its place on a sandwich, rather than disintegrating under a sopping beef patty, it stayed intact through the duration of the meal.

The wine also helped grease the wheels for the burger, making the entire transaction (bite+juice) a little tastier. The Sagrantino from Tinarelli was a little rough on its own initially, medium plus acid, heavy tannins, yielding dark and earthy flavors. Over the course of the lunch the wine eased up and expressed more, becoming a little easier to tolerate once our plates were clear and where it was the only show at the table.

The dishes were fair, ingredients were good, and my Midwest company was better—all and all we were not completely ruling out a return visit to the tavern. The environment was pleasant and after a UCB offering I could see a group of us mosey down a couple storefronts for a bite. The Tinarelli Sagrantino from Trader Joe’s definitely over-delivered for its price…and the million-dollar answer to burgers and Sagrantino? Totally as successful as Muscadet and oysters!

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