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Seldom have young wines gone so well with springtime’s most distinctive calling-card as do Austria’s 2018 wines. Completely harmonious and beautifully blessed with refined acidity, they provide an ideal partner to the dazzling variety of asparagus dishes due to dominate Austria’s menus in the coming weeks.
Asparagus & Wine from Austria: Delicious Essence of Springtime
Asparagus Season is once more in session! No other vegetable stands for culinary pleasure in springtime like the delicious white or green shoots, which are certainly best when locally grown.
Whether with Hollandaise sauce or with bread crumbs, with fish or ham, in a risotto or as a cream soup – the wealth of variations knows no end so far as this finest vegetable of the season is concerned.
But one rule consistently applies: asparagus will always be absolutely delightful when served with the right wine – and Austria has a real ace up its sleeve in the current vintage.
Nicely Balanced & Harmonious: Asparagus Loves the New Vintage
In addition to its nutty aromatics, asparagus has a slightly bitter character to it, and this helps to determine the wine selection.
If the acidity is too prominent – often the case with young wines – the delicate bitterness of asparagus can clash with the flavour in the glass.
For this reason, slightly mature wines with well-integrated acidity are often recommended. But Austria’s 2018s offer – right out of the starting gate – excellent company for the noble vegetable. Already in their youth, the ’18s present well-balanced and nicely integrated acidity: true of all grape varieties, whether white or red.
The Right Combination Does the Trick
White or red? In most cases, white wines are recommended as the companions of choice for various asparagus dishes. Wines of the Pinot family, with their subtle aromas and finely-grained luxuriant texture, are ideal for richly flavoured variations such as Asparagus Hollandaise, Asparagus Risotto or Asparagus Polonaise (with buttered bread crumbs).
Wiener Gemischter Satz, with its distinctive blended character, is also a good choice here. Wines that are not too heavy should be fine for Cream of Asparagus Soup, like medium-weight Grüner Veltliner.
Generally speaking, Grüner Veltliner is a very versatile food companion with its concentrated body and fine balance between fruit aromatics and minerality. It can be served successfully with almost any preparation of asparagus.
But should the wine perhaps be more aromatic, or maybe unusual? Then a fragrant Sauvignon Blanc, Roter Veltliner with its yellow fruit notes, Zierfandler or Rotgipfler with their exotic aromatics offer great enjoyment alongside a wide array of asparagus dishes.
Everything You Need to Know on Austrianwine.com
Anyone who would like to be comprehensively informed and inspired can find everything worth knowing about the ideal marriages of asparagus and wine on the website of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board.
The year 2018 once more set a record for exports of Austrian wine, with 170.3 million Euros around the world, 6.9% more than the previous year. In addition, the bountiful 2017 vintage helped to exceed the fifty-million-litre mark in exports for the first time since 2010.
Austrian wine was also extremely successful on the home front: the retail grocery trade recorded an increase in sales of 6.9% in 2018, and in terms of value, the market share of Austrian wine in this sector rose to more than 70%.
4 fillets of Alpine Salmon, 160 g each
100 g shallots
2 tablespoon Noilly Prat
4 table spoons white wine
10 tablespoons fish broth
Approx. 16 white asparagus
2 tablespoons cream
100 g butter
1 bread roll
Salt, pepper, nutmeg
For the white wine fish sauce, boil the chopped shallots with Noilly-Prat, white wine and the fish broth almost to a complete reduction. Add cream, cook for a short time, then mix in the butter and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Peel the asparagus from the top down. Cook the skins with water, salt, sugar, lemon juice and the bread-roll for 5 minutes, and strain.
Then cook the peeled asparagus in this broth until they still have a bit of bite to them.
Cut the asparagus into 1cm pieces and place them on a plate. Remove any bones from the fish fillets. Salt the fillets and cook at 80°C for 8 minutes in a bamboo steamer. Remove the skins and drizzle some lime oil over the fish.
Arrange the asparagus and the sauce, placing the fish on the asparagus.
20 white asparagus
1 bread roll
Approx. 150g prosciutto, thinly sliced
3 hard boiled eggs
4 tomatoes (concasse)
1/8 l beef broth
1/8 l grapeseed oil
1/16 l Zweigelt vinegar
1 clove of garlic
Chives, salt, sugar
Peel the asparagus from the head down.
Cook the skins with water, salt, sugar, lemon juice and the bread roll. Wait 5 minutes and strain.
Cook the peeled asparagus in this stock and let simmer, till they still have a bit of crisp bite.
For the vinaigrette, mix the beef broth with oil, vinegar, salt and sugar and the clove of garlic. Add the chopped eggs, the concasse and the chives.
Serve the asparagus – lukewarm – the ham and the vinaigrette on the side.
12 fresh asparagus
4 egg yolks
5 tablespoons white wine
300g melted butter
Salt, cayenne pepper
Peel the asparagus well, then cook them in salt water. Serve it with the Hollandaise and new potatoes.
Over boiling water, beat the yolks with white wine to a foamy cream. Remove from the water and slowly beat in the melted butter, then season with salt and cayenne pepper.
2 tablespoons olive oil
200 g Risotto
1/16 l white wine
1 litre chicken broth
3 tablespoons Parmesan
1 teaspoon chopped chervil
Lemon, salt, pepper
Finely chop the shallots and sauté them in olive oil.
Add the Risotto and heat together for a short amount of time; then pour in white wine.
Cook for 18 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the white asparagus – peeled and cut – for the last 10 minutes, and let cook.
Finally, season with butter, lemon, Parmesan and chervil, then serve.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 litre chicken broth
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
Salt; pepper; nutmeg; lemon
Peel the asparagus and cut into coarse pieces.
Cook the tips separately in salt water, adding them later to the soup.
Sauté the shallots in a pan; then add the cut asparagus pieces – heating them for a short time also.
Add the chicken broth and then let simmer for approximately 10 minutes, till the asparagus is soft.
Blend the asparagus soup to a fine texture, adding sour cream and crème fraîche and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Serve with the asparagus tips.