Limited-edition burger promises to give diners a “charge” for winter.

There are a lot of burger joints in Japan, but home-grown fast food chain Mos Burger is always one of our firm favourites. We love the fact that they source fresh ingredients from local farmers, and we’re continually impressed by their special range of “Tobikiri” (“extraordinary”) burgers, which contain oversized patties made with a blend of domestically sourced ground pork and beef.

This year, Mos Burger is going all out with a new series of Tobikiri burgers designed to provide luxurious comfort for the colder months, and the season has kicked off with their first instalment: the Red Wine and Vinegar Tobikiri.

▼ We headed out to Mos Burger to try the new burger, which greeted us from the front window on a giant poster.

The new burger comes in two varieties — the regular Red Wine and Vinegar Tobikiri and the Double Red Wine and Vinegar Tobikiri. We decided to go all out with the double patty version, and when the staff handed us our order on a tray, we were surprised at the scent of wine that immediately wafted up to greet us.

▼ These new burgers come with a warning that they contain 0.18 percent alcohol.

Tobikiri burgers are known for having jumbo patties fifty percent larger than regular ones, and this one looked totally decadent, with not just patties but pork loin bacon, cheese, lettuce, and a heap of thick, glistening sauce dwarfing the two soft buns around it.

Carefully lifting the top bun revealed just how much wine sauce the burger contained. Made with high-quality red wine and four kinds of vinegar, we could sense that this would be no ordinary Tobikiri burger, and checking the ingredients, the focus was set squarely on luxury with locally sourced smoked pork loin and Hokkaido Gouda cheese.

We’d never heard of a fast food chain serving up sauce containing alcohol before, and the combination of red wine, pork, and cheese sounded more like a meal at a fancy restaurant.

▼ Fine dining luxury, fast food style.

The distinct aroma of wine in the burger is really surprising, and the scent of vinegar isn’t far behind, melding with the red wine to create a slightly balsamic vinegar-like scent. The fragrant sauce alone made our mouths water, so we licked our lips and took a bite.

We immediately tasted the sauce, meat and cheese together, which sang in unison like an elegant opera. It was a compelling performance, with the juicy patties sitting snugly in the lower register, accompanied by gentle notes of pork loin as the white cheese punctuated everything with high notes from the sauce, which really stole the show.

It was a gorgeous combination of ingredients, and so delectable it had us wanting to call out for an encore. After we’d finished the burger, its sauce still lingering on the tongue, we were left with only one regret — that we hadn’t ordered fries to mop up all the sauce left behind.

We did our best to slurp up as much of the remainder as we could — who are we to waste wine? — and discovered that the delightful fragrance of the alcohol diminishes rapidly when cool, allowing the scent of vinegar to take over.

▼ The exquisite balance of flavours in the sauce is much better when hot.

The new Red Wine and Vinegar Tobikiri burger is priced at 538 yen (US$5.15) plus tax for the single-patty version and 741 yen plus tax for the double patty version. It’s also said to give you a “charge” — because of the alcohol? — according to the new commercial for the product, which shows a customer charging through the wall after her meal.

This first instalment in the winter Tobikiri lineup went on sale at Mos Burger branches around the country on 19 November will only be available for a limited time. The next instalment is set to land on 5 January, so until then, we’ll be charging up with the Red Wine and Vinegar version, as well as the regular Tobikiri range in stores, which curiously looks like the face of a Furby.

Related: Mos Burger
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