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Santé asked Doug Frost—wine and spirits consultant, educator, judge, and one of only three people in the world to have achieved the two distinctions of Master Sommelier and Master of Wine—to give us his opinion on the confounding subject of pairing asparagus dishes with wine. Here’s what he had to say:

I’m not one of those that act as if asparagus is like Jack Palance in a wine Western, riding in to terrorize all those poor little helpless wines. It has one bad habit, that’s all: it has the component methionine, which tends to kick the fruit out of wine. So you have to pick a wine that has more fruit. Not more tannin, not more alcohol, more fruit. A little sweetness is said to be a bad thing with asparagus, but I don’t agree. Some sweetness is just fine with asparagus.

Of course, asparagus shows up in various guises: white, steamed, grilled, and sauced. I find white asparagus to be so mild that pretty much any lighter-styled white wine is quite tasty with it. Grilled asparagus is pretty functional too. For some reason, and I haven’t sorted out why, the [flavor of] grill marks opens the way for a number of differently styled wines to pacify the normally cantankerous vegetable.

A big dollop of hollandaise doesn’t hurt the chances for a number of white wines and lighter reds to work well. But it increases the umami of the dish, and that means tannic and oaked wines are even less likely to taste pretty with asparagus. So generally, with asparagus, you ought to avoid Chardonnay and big reds and focus on some fruit bombs.

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