Can a red wine pair with asparagus? Asparagus is a notoriously difficult vegetable to pair with wine. When you do manage to pull off a wine pairing for asparagus, it’s usually a white wine. But for today’s Wine Pairing Weekend (#winePW) event, hosted by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm, I managed to pair red wine with asparagus.
There are a few tricks that make this pairing work. First, I roast the asparagus, which changes the character of the veggie as it gets caramelized. The asparagus gets roasted with mushrooms, which enhances the earthy aspect of the dish, which gives you a nice element that can bridge to the wine. I also sprinkled a bit of wine-friendly Parmesan cheese on top. This preparation of the asparagus tees it up to work with a red wine, though there are some factors in picking the wine pairing I’ll get to in a moment.
This roasted asparagus with mushrooms is easy to put together. Snap a few asparagus stalks in half to see where the woody stalk to discard ends and the good part begins, then chop the rest of the bunch to match. Toss with mushrooms, olive oil and dried herbs, and roast. The cooking time will very based on thickness of the asparagus. I like it thinner, but the bunches available when I was making this were on the thicker side, so roasting 18 minutes worked well.
The wine pairing geek in me cringes when a restaurant serves up a steak with regular old steamed asparagus. The steak wants a big red wine, but that preparation of asparagus is going to make that a funky pairing. But my roasted asparagus and mushrooms works with red wine, so I served up with a steak. Now that’s a pairing! Time to get to the wine details…
Wine Pairing: Yes, this roasted asparagus with mushrooms is red wine friendly, but you still need to pick a wine that isn’t particularly tannic. Given that I also had steak on the plate, I wanted something at least medium bodied, but soft on the tannins. I chose the 2009 Amphora Kylix red blend from Dry Creek in Sonoma County. It’s comprised of 50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Malbec, 10% Petite Sirah. I’d previously enjoy several Zinfandels from Amphora, such as the one I served up with this rigatoni and sausage dish.
I get lavender on the nose of this wine, eucalyptus and berry taste. Nice velvety mouthfeel. The wine tasted sweeter and fruitier after a bite of the the roasted asparagus. It definitely worked when I first sampled the wine with just the veggies. As you might suspect, the pairing was even better when I served it with dinner. Steak along with this roasted asparagus was definitely a great pairing with the Kylix!
Now having enjoyed zinfandels and this blend from Amphora, I would definitely encourage you to try their wines! The Kylix blend is a very good quality wine for around $20.
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Prep the asparagus: remove the coarse woody stock, typically about the bottom half of the asparagus spear. Chop the remaining tip portions into 2 inch pieces. Add to a roasting pan.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan, then toss the mushrooms and asparagus with the olive oil.
- Add the garlic powder, tarragon, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Place the asparagus into the oven. Roast until the asparagus is tender and starting to brown. This will take 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus is.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with the option cheese. Serve along with a steak or other protein, and a glass of red wine!
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