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Asparagus is a true delicacy and belongs to the beginning of spring. They are available in white and green. The methods of preparation and the sauces used differ quite a bit, and therefore have a great influence on the choice of the best matching wine.
Combining asparagus and wine is a true art, taking into account both the preparation method and the accompanying sauces. Whether you choose white or green asparagus, there is always an ideal wine that takes the flavors of this versatile vegetable to the next level. Experiment with different wine-and-asparagus combinations to find your perfect match and enjoy the delicious flavors this spring delicacy has to offer.
White and green asparagus: what’s the difference?
White asparagus, often called the white gold, is distinguished by its mild, creamy flavor and texture. They grow underground, so they retain their pale color. With its delicate flavors, this spring delicacy calls for a fruity, aromatic and a somewhat mineral wine.
Green asparagus grows above ground and gets its characteristic green color from exposure to sunlight. Green asparagus has a more pronounced, slightly bitter taste and a firmer texture. They suit more flavorful meals a bit better and provide a nice contrasting color to dishes.
Asparagus preparation and sauces: influence on wine choice
The preparation method of asparagus and the sauces with which it is served greatly influence the choice of wine.
Classically prepared white asparagus
These are often served with melted butter, ham and a poached or crumbled boiled egg. A classic white wine, such as an Alsatian Muscat or a Dutch Auxerrois, is a good choice here. These wines have a fresh, light acidity that pairs nicely with the creamy flavor of the asparagus and the rich sauce.
Because of their firmer texture and distinct flavor, green asparagus pairs well with more powerful white wines. Consider, for example, a Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner or a Verdejo. These wines offer a nice balance of freshness and complexity, complementing green asparagus perfectly.
Asparagus with cream or cheese-based sauce
When asparagus is served with a creamy sauce, such as a cheese sauce or a cream sauce with herbs, a round, full-bodied white wine can be a good match. A Chardonnay with light wood aging or a Viognier are excellent choices here.
Asparagus with vinaigrette or citrus dressing
Asparagus with a fresh, acidic dressing calls for a lively, refreshing white wine. An Albariño, Vermentino or a Picpoul de Pinet are good options, thanks to their fresh acidity and subtle minerality.
Some additional tips
- Keep in mind that a wine that is too heavy or tannic can overpower the delicate flavor of asparagus. So rather choose a fresh, light to medium-bodied white wine.
- In general, white wines with slightly higher acidity pair well with asparagus, as the acids help to enhance the flavors and balance the dish.
- Remember that choosing the perfect wine is primarily a matter of personal taste. What is a perfect combination for some may not be as appealing to others. So try different wines to discover which combination appeals most to you.
In Wine Letter #5 from Wijnkoperij Meijrink, Jerry Overeem of restaurant de Bronckhorst from Rheden gives a surprising recipe for fried asparagus. Peter Meijrink has three matching wines to recommend: a Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) by Rings from the Palatinate, a Pinot Grigio by Bidoli from Italy’s Friuli and a nice tight Sauvignon Blanc by Domaine la Chapinière from the Loire, France.
Incidentally, a slightly more refined red wine goes very well with venison medallions with white asparagus. Consider a Pinot Noir from Burgundy or a German Spätburgunder from the Ahr. Wines from the Italian Nebbiolo grape can also do very well; Barolo or Barbaresco, for example.
With this knowledge and tips under your belt, you’ll be all set to enjoy a delicious meal of asparagus and the perfect wine to match. Cheers to a tasty spring!