It’s peak Spring and everyone’s favorite seasonal vegetable (you better be thinking of asparagus) is in it’s prime, begging to be roasted and stir-fried and served alongside literally everything.
In fact I just roasted some asparagus this week (pictured above, pre-roast) and while it’s hard to mess up, I think I made the best roasted asparagus in my life this past Tuesday. It was actually pretty humble asparagus prep, with just some garlic, pepper, a light amount of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil in a pan lined with parchment paper and yet it has never turned out so crispy yet juicy.
Some of you may have been successfully turning out roasted asparagus all your life and are thinking “well, duh, how else would you prepare it?” I actually tend to either overdo the oil by coating every spear top to bottom, causing it to lack crunch. Or, even sometimes forgo the oil altogether, which mainly just yields wilting spears. I also sometimes forget the parchment paper, but I’ve realized its role in procuring a crunchy texture is far more significant than I initially thought. This time I finally struck the right ratios and it was without a doubt a highlight of my day. True asparagus aficionados will relate.
Whether you’re making pasta with chopped and pan-fried asparagus in a light garlic and oil sauce, or simply roasting scores of spears in the oven to enjoy in all their glory, there is indeed a wine for that (you knew it was coming):
Muscat – but specifically from the Alsace region in France.
Because of asparagus’ vegetal flavor, tannic and oak-y wines are not the move. Instead, matching asparagus with something citrusy, herbal, and floral will take the springtime wave of seasonal eating to the next level. A dry (I repeat, DRY) Muscat is the wine you’re looking for.
Why specifically Muscat from Alsace? As it turns out, Alsace is known for more than crisp, dry white wines. It’s also known for it’s crisp, white asparagus. The difference between green and white asparagus being that the white variety is grown underground. But no joke, between April and June, a handful of small restaurants dedicated strictly to asparagus open up in Alsace, while nearly all of them will have specials focusing asparagus. In fact, Karen Macneil, author of The Wine Bible, suggests that “the most sensational way to celebrate the arrival of spring is with a huge platter of asparagus drizzled with hollandaise sauce, and a cold bottle of a great Alsace muscat like Domaine Zind Humbrecht Goldert Grand Cru”. She hasn’t been wrong yet.
As they say, what grows together goes together, so you might as well make a habit of grabbing a bottle of Muscat in sync with each bundle of asparagus you buy during your next grocery trip. Though, any dry white Alsatian wine would do the trick in a pinch.