How to Pair Wine with Asparagus

Matching wines with asparagus

© Shutterstock

Matching wines with asparagus

Matching wines with asparagus

© Shutterstock

How to pick the right wine to go with asparagus? The match is said to be tricky but here is a low-down of numerous styles that go with all manner of asparagus recipes.

Preparation an important factor

Both white and green asparagus call for distinctive wines, with full-bodied and also aged wines enhancing the enjoyment of that most spring-like of vegetables. Choosing the right wine depends not only on the vegetable itself but on the way it is prepared - taking this into consideration  makes the perfect combination of asparagus and wine a complex but rewarding affair.

The ground rules

The basic criteria for a good asparagus wines can be defined as:

  • They are usually dry white wines – full-bodied, not too light and moderate in alcohol.
  • A wine with two or three years of bottle age is preferable to a young wine.
  • The acidity should not be too prominent.
  • Barrique-aged wines are only suitable for certain methods of preparation; a subtle note of oak, for example, has proven to be a good match with hollandaise sauce.

Grüner Veltliner or Silvaner

Both medium-bodied Grüner Veltliner, perhaps with a little bottle age, and subtle, understated Silvaner are great matches that are very popular in the white-asparagus-loving countries Austria and Germany. Silvaner is a speciality of Franken, and its tender notes of chervil and hay go really well with white asparagus. Likewise, the savoury nature of Grüner Veltliner, is a natural pairing for the fresh, white spears.

White Pinots and Chardonnay

The perfect choice for asparagus, however, comes from the Pinot-family. Medium-bodied, expressive but understated Pinot Blanc has emerged as the finest supporter of the asparagus aroma; Chardonnay can also come into play if it is not overly oaked. A real eye-opener is fine Pinot Gris, ideally not too bold and with some bottle age.

Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling

Among the aromatic varieties, Sauvignon Blanc is a popular match; here, mature, full-bodied wines are preferable to those with spicy-grassy notes. Riesling is also often recommended but it is only suitable to a limited extent. Here, too, the acidity should not be too sharp, harmony is required, and a little residual sugar can be helpful.

Off-piste

Sweet wine and asparagus is not a common pairing. In Bordeaux, a slightly chilled Sauternes, is served with cold white asparagus tips as an amuse-bouche – a delicious variation.

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