Marcel Proust-A la recherche du temps perdu (1913).
“They turned my chamber-pot into a vase full of fragrant perfume”
Asparagus, wine, and spring
It is spring again in the Netherlands at the moment I’m writing this blog. The sun shows itself more and more. So we can go outside more often. The asparagus also shows their heads above ground again. They are early this year. I have already bought my first asparagus in mid-March. It looks great for the asparagus grower to have such a nice spring weather, but I have already heard sounds from growers who don’t even bother to harvest their asparagus because the price is currently too low. That’s because the asparagus are earlier than in other years. Many restaurants that are important customers were not yet ready for them in terms of the menu. It was therefore sometimes not even profitable for the grower to harvest the asparagus (until a few weeks ago).
In addition, like every year the growers face a huge harvest peak when the weather is good. Suddenly there is a large offer that depresses the price. Nice for the consumer. As an asparagus enthusiast, this is a wonderful time. They are plentiful in supermarkets or at the greengrocer’s and very affordable.
which wine goes well with asparagus?
But which wine goes well with asparagus? Because fair is fair. Asparagus does have a special, delicate taste. If you choose a wine to drink with, you want the wine-food combination to be good. The delicate asparagus flavors must still come out well and the wine should taste good. In my childhood, I saw that my parents opted for an Alsace Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris as standard. Not a bad choice. Those wines are nice and fresh, slightly fruity, but neutral enough to support the asparagus’ taste. So we can safely follow my parents’ initiative. Make sure you choose a nice dry Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder) or Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder-Pinot Grigio) and one without or a minimal of aging on wood. You don’t want the vanilla flavor or herbal aroma caused by the use of wood to beat the asparagus aromas.
Choices to make
I assume that you will be cooking / steaming the asparagus. With asparagus from the wok or roasted, a wine with wood aging could be used. Unfortunately, there are winemakers from Alsace who have too much residual sweetness in their wine. Tasty maybe, but not with the asparagus. Of course, you can choose other wines than mentioned in this article. You might as well choose a wine from another region or country from the same grape.
Are there any alternatives?
A Sancerre from the Loire is also a perfect match with asparagus. Just like a Sauvignon Blanc from New-Zealand. Make sure you’ll choose a young and green style. A too bold style of Sauvignon Blanc with tropical aromas will totally take over your dish. A nice Saumur Blanc is also an excellent choice. A German Riesling could be a tricky choice. But if you have a nice and dry Riesling it could actually be a perfect match. My last suggestion would be an Australian – or South-African Sémillon.
More than enough suggestions I would say. Enjoy your asparagus and cheers. Let me know what choice you’ve made and how it turned out.