Spring Hopes: Asparagus and Rosé #WinePW
The Flavors of Spring
Our Wine Pairing Weekend April assignment is to share our favorite flavors of spring. At our house, this definitely means fresh asparagus and rosé. At the bottom of this post, you can link to a dozen other great ideas from my partners in our #WinePW group.
Spring Into Being
Truth be told, it isn’t spring yet in Minnesota. Winter is over, but April is always a roller coaster: a warm day then snow, sometimes all in the span of 48 hours. Outside the grass is barely beginning to green and our farmers markets won’t start up until mid-late May.
Not winter, but spring has not yet sprung
Rosé Season Opener
Likewise, 2014 rosé has started to appear, but just barely. We know that spring is inevitable, and cracking our first bottle of 2014 rosé seems as hopeful as the home opener is to baseball fans.
That bright color and fresh aroma reminds us that spring will come!
Two Shepherds Wines
Two Shepherds is on our short list of favorite California wineries. William Allen works to ensure his wines express their home vineyard and the vintage. I think of the wines as having one foot in their California home and one foot in their historic old world heritage. They are never overripe or over-extracted, and are perfect at the dinner table. Definitely worth a visit if you are near Santa Rosa in your wine travels! I met William on a visit two years ago, and after tasting the wines, I immediately signed up for the wine club. We get a few of his wines in Minnesota now, but I’m sticking with the club because I have access to everything he makes. I say “he” intentionally, as this is a very small operation and William is a one man show.
Two Shepherds Grenache rosé is intensely fruity, crisp and bone dry
Two Shepherds Grenache Rosé 2014 ($24 from the winery)
Eye: Almost clear, just a hint of haze, bright, electric strawberry color.
Nose: Bright, ripe strawberries bright fruit. in the background, a hint of herbs and earth.
Mouth: Bright strawberry fruit, tart acidity, very dry. Refreshing and very nice.
At our house, the return of fresh asparagus is another favorite sign of spring, even if it isn’t local. Either celebrating or using it to wish spring into place, a dinner centered around rosé and asparagus is perfect.
Freshly roasted asparagus, ready to go!
Fresh Asparagus on Toast with Two Shepherds Grenache Rosé
By itself, freshly cooked asparagus on toast would be a nice starter, but may fall a bit short as a meal. Adding a poached egg and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese adds enough body to make this a very nice light dinner, also reminding us of the warm weather ahead. Finally, this makes a lovely Meatless Monday meal if your definition of meatless allows eggs and cheese.
For the wine pairing, a bright crisp rosé is just right. Plenty of bright flavor and acidity, but not so much that it overpowers the food. When asparagus is the main flavor to match, I often reach for rosé and find it pairs beautifully. Actually, as the weather warms, I reach for rosé a lot!
Fresh Asparagus on Toast
This is my favorite kind of recipe, flexible, easy ingredients, quick to put together. Serves 2 for a light dinner, 4 as a 1st course. Serve with a crisp, dry rosé.
- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
- 4 slices of really good, crusty bread
- 1 lemon, sliced crosswise very thinly
- 4 pieces of lettuce
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 425° F
- Fill a frying pan with water, add 1 Tbsp white vinegar and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a high simmer, but not boiling
- Prep fresh asparagus, breaking the bottom of the stems off by bending
- On a sheet pan, lay a piece of parchment paper, layer the lemons on the bottom and lay the asparagus on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Toast the bread
- Put the asparagus in the oven, 5 minutes for small stalks, or more depending on how big the asparagus is.
- While the asparagus is roasting, crack an egg and place in a small teacup, gently pour it into the simmering water. Repeat. Poach for 3 minutes for a warm runny yolk, up to 4 minutes for a firmer yolk. Note the egg will continue to cook after you remove it from the water.
- Plate the toast, top with lettuce, lemon, asparagus and finally the egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Shave Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, and serve.