<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=403686353314829&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">
  • The Chopping Blog

Welcome Spring with Wine and Asparagus

Mary Ross
Posted by Mary Ross on Mar 21, 2024


While Spring busts out all over so does my favorite vegetable – asparagus.

It’s a Snap

Versatility is a key asparagus attribute. For a simple nosh, just snap off coarse ends and dunk in your dip of choice. A little more effort yields an elegant appetizer: wrap spears in prosciutto, bake and accent with shaved Parmesan. For haute cuisine, steam spears and serve with Hollandaise sauce, one of France’s extra-decadent “Mother Sauces” (though The Chopping Block offers a foolproof version).

Asparagus with HollandaiseFor rice and pasta lovers, asparagus is integral to Risotto agli asparagi (Asparagus risotto) and Pasta Primavera (Springtime Pasta). For all-day breakfast, incorporate asparagus into quiche, crepes, and omelets. Fear not carnivores! Roasted asparagus makes a rich complement to all meats. For more inspiration, see Asparagus Every Which Way but Steamed, Roasted or Grilled.

Midwest Pride

While imported asparagus is available now, aren’t Chicagolanders lucky that one of the world’s finest asparagus fields is in our backyard, specifically in “Pure Michigan’s” western Oceana County and South Haven?  With a season from May to July, watch your local grocer and farmers’ markets to bring the freshest asparagus straight to your table!

“It’s Always Something”, (Roseanne Rosannadanna)

Thing is, asparagus is a traditional “don’t” with wine. The veggie’s dramatic flavors stem from a chemical soup including sulfurous amino acid, mercaptan, thiol and organosulfur carboxylic acid, all of which create bitter, metallic flavors when paired with wine. The veggie’s delicate sweetness also accents wine’s acidity. To keep it simple, I rely on the primary wine and food pairing guideline:

Look for a Common Denominator of Flavor

To my palate, the vegetal flavor of asparagus is a match for the green flavors of Sauvignon Blanc.

Asparagus with white wineA few of my favorites include:

Sancerre, Langlois-Chateau, 2022 Loire Valley, France (at TCB, $40):  Taste this 100% Sauvignon Blanc that was classic centuries before New Zealand! Grown in northern France's cool climate and chalky soil for bone-dry, bright flavors of fresh herbs with damp stone and lime accents, with firm acidity. Serve as an elegant cocktail and to enhance dishes with herbs, vegetables and olive oil, including seafood (sushi!), pasta, poultry and vegetarian cuisine.

SancerreSauvignon Blanc "Leyda Valley", Boya, 2021, Aconcagua, Chile (at TCB, $28):  Vibrant, dry, and direct flavors of passionfruit and fresh herbs with lime-like acidity.  A dynamic cocktail and complement to dishes prepared with herbs or citrus, including seafood, veggie cuisine and even meat.

Boya Sauvignon BlancSauvignon Blanc, Babich, 2021 Marlborough New Zealand (At wine shops, about $15):  While many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs veer towards sweetness to off-set sharp acidity, Babich leads with fresh fruit flavors – including lemon, lemon and passionfruit - with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and long, delicately creamy finish.

Dine like a European

In the Old World, wining and dining is made easy by regional pairings, representing centuries of co-operation between area chefs and farmers. With our wine culture in teenage years, one of our only regional pairings has been Columbia River Salmon and Oregon Pinot Noir. Now, the development of our Michigan vineyard yields delicious pairings including Michigan asparagus and wine. James Lester, Winemaker and Co-Founder of Wyncroft, recommends:

“Shou” Blanc, Le Page Estate 2022, Wyncroft (Available on Wyncroft’s website, $30:  2022 Wyncroft Shou Blanc, LePage Estate — Wyncroft (wyncroftwine.com):  “Rain on rocks” minerality that French wine lovers associate with classic wines of Bordeaux, with a 33% proportion of Semillon to balance asparagus’ delicate sweetness.  “Shou” (pronounced ‘show’) represents longevity, one of the Chinese blessings of happiness.

Wyncroft label

Jim warns “Our mothers made children hate asparagus because they boiled it and made it soft and slimy.”

Thanks for the Memories!

One of my happiest childhood memories is my Daddy teaching little me how to separate eggs, then having his strong hand hold mine “Whisk, whisk, whisk, don’t stop!”, finally draping our Hollandaise over asparagus spears perfectly steamed by Mom.

If you don’t already, teach your child favorite recipes to pass along memories that will last many lifetimes.  And if you’re no cook, let our kids and teen summer cooking camps help! 

In May, my wine classes include How to Bluff Your Way thru Wine (May 17, 6:30pm), Culinary Heaven: Pairing Wine & Cheese (May 31, 6:30pm) and Raise a Glass (May 17 & May 31, 5pm). These classes will be open for registration in just one week, so keep an eye on our class calendar

See our class calendar

Topics: Wine, white wine, asparagus, sauvignon blanc, white asparagus, wine and food pairing

Subscribe to Email Updates

Most Recent Posts

Sign Up To Get