The beautiful Magnolia tree was the first to fully bloom and the other blossoms are gradually emerging. Let that be the start of one of my favorite seasons, spring… This season provides so many tasty and fresh ingredients on the plate and they cannot do without the best suitable wine in combination. Every year we wait impatiently for the first Belgian white asparagus to hit the market. In my enthusiasm for this top vegetable, I devote an entire blog post to the combination between asparagus and wine.
Asparagus is a very pure and fine vegetable that I prefer to have on my plate in all purity and then approach it in the glass. Depending on the preparation and what is served with it, the wine choice can be slightly adjusted. Due to its delicate, fresh-bitter and vegetal taste , not every wine can cope with it, but that makes it very interesting. Below I have selected three of my favorite dishes with asparagus and I have always added two wines that I think are a 'match made in heaven'.
Healthy & tasty,
Fresh spring salad with asparagus points, boiled ham and soft-boiled egg
A fresh salad that I often make at home in the spring, super simple, quickly prepared and with top ingredients.
Tips for the salad:
- Use a good cooked ham for the salad: eg. Brasvar ham from Nevele;
- Arrange the soft-boiled eggs in the salad lukewarm;
- Boil the asparagus for this salad until al dente, so they are deliciously crispy in the salad.
This very fresh, slightly aromatic wine from Belgian soil goes very well with this dish. Its lightness and crunchy, juicy acidity make the combination beautiful with the bitterness of the asparagus and the salty accent of the cooked ham. In terms of aroma, this auxerrois gives a luxuriant bouquet, even slightly floral, which goes well with the fat of the - still running - egg yolk.
For me, Oud Conynsbergh is one of the most promising domains on Belgian soil. 8 friends started this adventure in Boechout in 2011, after intense deepening in the profession. All their wines are characterized by their patience, hard work and no-compromise mentality. Even though the vineyards are still relatively young, the wines show plenty of maturity and strength.
My other suggestion with the asparagus salad is a sauvignon blanc from Sancerre in the French Loire Valley. Together with her husband, Aurore makes wines on her grandfather's family estate and is tipped as one of the 'coming ladies' in the region for world-class Sancerre. A few weeks ago we visited Aurore and we could hear her philosophy behind the wines, we haven't heard the last of this yet.
This sauvignon shows itself in all purity and purity, not too exuberant and very nicely balanced. The fine, tight acids provide a nice refreshment of the saltiness of the ham and the fatness of the egg yolk.
Serving suggestion: Serve this wine from a carafe, especially in its youth, this wine has so much to offer and doesn't always show it immediately. A little oxygen can do wonders!
The classic of the classics – asparagus à la Flamande
Never change a winning horse… a delicious combination with the fresh-bitter of the asparagus versus the savory-fat of the best farm butter and eggs.
Asparagus à la Flamande is in itself a solid and concentrated preparation, apart from the fresh bitterness of the asparagus, it is a dish with power and complexity. The butter and eggs make it rich and bold, the white pepper and nutmeg provide complexity and length on the palate. Compared to this dish, I think this wine is a real discovery, on one of the islands off the Dalmatian Coast is the domain Korta Katarina on the island of Peljesac. Posip is their white wine, which tastes remarkably elegant for such a warm climate zone. In the nose you are spoiled with ripe stone fruits and fresh walnut, wood aging is not involved here. In the mouth, the wine starts very fresh and tight in acidity, but then very mouth-filling, rich and long in the aftertaste. A small and pleasant bitterness makes the nod to the asparagus while the complexity lingers for a long time and manages to tame the rich 'Flamande' with the eggs and butter. Enjoy this wine in a wide wine glass!
As a more classic counterpart to 'asparagus à la Flamande', I travel to the Rhône valley in southern France. We are at the historical and also biodynamic domain 'Raymond Usseglio'. The white cuvée 'Les Claux' is a typical white blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Roussanne. On the nose this wine shows ripe white peach and fresh blossoms, even a discreet nutmeg accent makes the link in the nose with the nutmeg in my favorite asparagus dish. In the mouth, this wine is mouth-filling, warm, soft and very intense, which proudly counters the rich sauce with eggs and butter. Although it is surprising how this wine, with its fine acidity, finishes everything in elegance and freshness and winks at the purity of the asparagus. Serve this wine at 10°C and let it warm up a bit in the glass during the meal to release all the fine aromas. SANTE!
Baked asparagus with rye wing and beurre noisette
I think rye wing is a delicious fish and ideal if you don't like to find bones in the fish. You can't help but score this fish, together with the rich 'beurre noisette', the asparagus and a delicious glass of wine! With this style of cuisine I go for two powerful and rich white wines with wood age, these wines taste intense and are very complex to support this powerful preparation.
Serving tip: Pour these wines from a carafe to give some extra oxygen, so the wine has the chance to show what it has to offer. White wines are still too little decanted, while there are a lot of wines that really benefit from it.
As a classic I go enthusiastically for a white Burgundy from the Pavelot family. Today Luc & Lise are at the helm of the domain, but they inherited the experience from their ancestors. For more than 900 years, the Pavelot family has been a fixture in the winegrowing of Pernand-Vergelesses, today the domain is certified organic and makes particularly balanced wines. This Pernand-Vergelesses shows itself particularly discreet and elegant, no 'overpowering' due to too strong wood aging or battonnage and this makes it extremely suitable for this preparation with rye wing and asparagus.