April 25, 2011

A Wine For This Seasons Asparagus

By In Food and Wine, Wine Notes


Really sorry Mary Berry but your Hollandaise Sauce isn’t a patch on the one served at Aubaine. Sure yours is a mass produced commercial product, and rather tasty it is too, but enlivening my Eggs Benedict at Aubaine last week was the best Hollandaise I’ve ever sampled. I assume they make it fresh and its not out of a jar…
Breakfast with Cooksister last Saturday was relished at Aubaine, Brompton Road, pre-V&A photo exhibition visit, and, despite some shoddy service (wrong dish brought to Jeanne, having to chase my coffee three times and a noise level only lessened when they pulled back the louvered windows) the food was superb. So good in fact I could only sedate a hankering for Eggs Benedict again by constructing my own version a day or so later.

Then of course I had this jar of Merry Berry’s Hollandaise to finish.

Step forward asparagus. Specifically a bunch cut fresh that morning from a family producer just 40 minutes’ walk from where I live. Asparagus needs Hollandaise. But does Asparagus with Hollandaise need wine?

Is there still much fuss made about matching wine with this seasonal green shoot? Most commentators don’t have an issue so I assume it’s one of those old time truism’s that really don’t hold much credence. Seems there are a lot of these in the wine world, passing through the years as steadfast fact. A little over a year ago Fiona Beckett asked, via twitter, for drink recommendations with asparagus. Answers ranged from Muscadet, to Aligoté to Muscat (?!) to Arneis. Good to see a smattering of Alsace and Austrian wine suggestions, for Riesling would be my initial choice. Surprising perhaps from a chap who is on record as not being a lover of the grape at all!

While those spears are a-cooking atop the griddle pan and Mary Berry’s finest is chilling fridge-side, crack open a bottle of Dominique et Julien Frey’s Riesling Vieilles Vignes 2009 [Adegga / Snooth]. Dry but weighty. Mineral and floral. Little of that ‘petrol’ edge that some find attractive, this is all fresh fruits and soft lime flavours. Alcohol is only 12.5%. Refreshing. Savour the play of vegetable and wine. The season is short after all. The estate, holding just 13 hectares just outside Dambach Le Ville, has been producing wines under biodynamic rules since 2001.

“We strive to convey to the wine the energy and life that we provide to our grapes so that the wine is the most palatable and alive possible.”

And the Riesling with the asparagus? Just about damn perfect. Just go easy on the Hollandaise, that vinegar component isn’t going to do any wine much good. Even with Mary Berry’s deft touch.


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