These are the best wines to go with the finest fresh English asparagus

What are the best wines to accompany the finest fresh English asparagus, now in season? Christine Austin reports on the drinksthat deliver most success with a dish that can be hard to handle.

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How do you like your asparagus? Now that it is available all year round, even if they do fly it in from Peru, it is easy to forget that the very best English asparagus is available for just a few weeks.

Blink and you will miss those vibrant, glorious flavours and bite of fresh English asparagus that only needs a few minutes cooking to get it at its best.

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All too soon the season will be over, and we will be back to the perfectly adequate but less exciting asparagus that has collected substantial air miles on its journey to our shores.

Green fresh asparagusGreen fresh asparagus
Green fresh asparagus

I have enjoyed the white version, in Alsace, Spain and Switzerland, but I really prefer the tender green stalks of Yorkshire asparagus for their flavour.

We have several asparagus farms scattered across the county, and the best flavours come from buying at a farm shop where you know it was still growing in the field that same morning. You can’t beat that freshness.

Asparagus has always been labelled as ‘difficult to pair with wine’, but like lots of food matching, it isn’t so much the main ingredient that causes the problems, more the way it is cooked and the other items on the plate. To help overcome the nature of asparagus which makes some wines taste metallic, it is always good to select the sauces and accompaniments to get the best out of this short season.


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I love steamed asparagus, but the whole meal needs to be ready and almost on the plate before the asparagus gets its 2-minute steaming. It usually gets anointed with a knob of salted butter that trickles down the stalks making them messy but delicious to eat. For this, a light simple unoaked wine does the trick and an English wine such as Waitrose Blueprint White Wine 2022 (£9.99) is perfect. Made from a blend of Bacchus, Ortega and Müller-Thurgau it has a lift of light floral notes, with crisp, garden-fresh flavours and a clear, bright finish. Alternatively try an unoaked Chardonnay such as Tesco Finest Western Australian Chardonnay 2023 (£9). The cool breezes that roll across Margaret River keep flavours crisp and zesty, which partner asparagus perfectly.

Char-grilled Asparagus

I was late to discover how to cook asparagus on a griddle. I think it was one of the Saturday morning cookery shows that demonstrated just how ridiculously simple it is and this is now my preferred way of cooking it. Sprinkled with salt and a drizzle of olive oil, the spears take minutes to cook and end up with a more positive flavour and bite. I often dress the spears with flakes of freshly cut parmesan cheese or a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar, so for this I need a wine with more flavour and texture.

When served as a starter, a rosé is the ideal wine to team alongside. Try Marks and Spencer’s Vive l’Ete 2023 (£8) which is dry with subtle red berry fruit backed by lively citrus flavours on the finish. If you prefer a white wine, then Sauvignon Blanc is ideal such as New Zealand’s Wither Hills Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2023 (Majestic £11.99 on a mix six deal).

Asparagus with Hollandaise

A chef friend who lives nearby can knock up a hollandaise sauce, by hand, in a matter of moments, and I know it is possible to whisk one up in my food processor, but I am afraid I cheat. I only need small quantities, so mine comes ready-made in a plastic pot although I usually add a tiny splash of white wine and adjust the seasoning. That way it comes to the table looking home-made. For a plate of asparagus with a dollop of hollandaise, head for a white wine that has enough acidity to deflect the richness of the sauce, but can still blend with the buttery flavours, such as Adi Badenhorst’s Curator White Blend 2023 from South Africa (Waitrose £9.99). This is a mix of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Colombard, providing crisp, rounded flavour with just a lift of fruit. Alternatively, a straight Chablis works brilliantly well – try Tesco’s Finest Chablis 2022 (£14.50), for its lean, crunchy flavours.

Asparagus with Egg

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I love poached eggs on a Sunday morning, especially if the sun is shining and it is warm enough to set up the table outside. Poaching eggs seems to generate more discussion than most breakfast dishes, but am I alone in hating vinegar in the poaching water? The taste of vinegar seems to swamp the egg.

Dipping asparagus spears into a freshly poached egg combines two glorious flavours, so make sure the wine is up for the challenge. If your breakfast has turned into a leisurely brunch in your English garden, then a glass of English Sparkling wine could be the best choice. Nyetimber Classic Cuvée (Sainsbury, down from £42 to £29 until 4 June) consistently wins medals for its creamy, rounded flavours with a touch of toasty brioche. Alternatively, head for the white peach and honeyed notes of Codorníu Selección Familia Brut from Spain (Waitrose down from £12.99 to £9.99 until 21 May).

Asparagus Risotto

I love a good risotto, especially when someone else has done all the stirring to make it creamy, leaving just enough texture in the rice. Asparagus is the only risotto I make, solely because it tastes so good, and it is an impressive dish to put on the table. After all that stirring you need a wine that will partner the asparagus perfectly. Head for the minerally, textured style of Feudo di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo 2022, Italy (Majestic £14.99 on a mix six deal), which gathers depth and crunch on the palate and combines so well with food.


The bright green colour of freshly cooked asparagus mixed with leaves in a salad makes it very appealing but go carefully with dressing. A light coating of olive oil, balsamic and a twist of salt is enough to bring out all the flavours. Match this with the consistently tasty Viñas del Rey Albariño from Rías Baixas (Tesco £12.99). Its light apricot and pink grapefruit notes are perfect.

Thanks to Rich at Sand Hutton Asparagus for taking time away from cutting asparagus to take the photos. Check their opening hours on their Sand Hutton Asparagus Facebook page.

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