Hurrah! It’s that time of year when the nation goes crazy for asparagus! As the trees get greener, so do our plates with the first spears of the new season adorning our mealtimes left right and centre. With all this excitement, it seems only right to celebrate by raising a glass or three to this green spear of delight.
A few years ago I filmed in the Evesham area at the start of the Asparagus Festival with the lovely Susy Atkins and Gus The Asparagus King. Yes, it was a man dressed as a giant spear of asparagus. If I remember correctly, Susy asked him the way to the shops. A true Saturday Kitchen classic!
I often describe the taste of asparagus as the greenest of all flavours. And it’s this photosynthesised green character that I want in my accompanying wine. Cue Sauvignon Blanc and here are a few of my current faves. The first two wines are from Marlborough on New Zealand’s South Island where grape growing dates back to the late 1800s. Marlborough is New Zealand’s premier wine region and has cool growing conditions which is responsible for a slow ripening period and intensely tasting wine.
A fantastic sip from this region is Founders Sauvignon, currently £11 in Asda and down from £13.97. Sauvignons from Marlborough pack quite a punch and this one has a lovely limey nose to it. It may be a bold wine but this particular Sauvignon has a dash of sweetness on the finish which rounds off the spikey dry character of the wine. It certainly has that characteristic gooseberry hint but it’s a bit more subtle than some and it has a really lovely juicy tang to it which is fantastic with asparagus and crispy cured ham.
Marks & Spencer have a Marlborough-made treat in the form of Silver
Frond Sauvignon Blanc. At £9, it’s an excellent example of wine to be sipping in springtime and will go so well with any asparagus recipe. There’s a fresh flint spark nose to the wine accompanied by plenty of citrus. When you taste it, it’s bone dry, light and delicate. It has that grassy nose we love from Sauvignon Blanc but it’s subdued and elegant . It has more of a grapefruit hint rather than sharp gooseberry which would be great with steamed asparagus and a zingy salad.
If you’re going to roast asparagus, you can’t go wrong with Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. One of my favourites is the Casillero Del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2015. The grapes for this wine grow only a few kilometers away from the Pacific Ocean and it’s their proximity to the water’s edge that goes some way to moderate the summer temperatures in the area. This in turn produces fresh and delicious wine. It’s fresh on the nose with a mineral note and an underlying peachiness. The slightly rounder flavour of the grape is slightly scented with sweet grapefruit. It’s so fresh on the tongue with tangy green flavours which remind me of freshly cut grass coupled with a dash of lime. I love it. The wine is £7.49 when it’s full price, but as it’s available in all the big supermarkets (Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda to name but a few) you can hunt around for the best deal.
So stock up and partake in the asparagus fest that is hitting the nation! For more information on the British Asparagus Festival go to http://www.britishasparagusfestival.org