Pairing asparagus has a special significance for me, as it marks the beginning of oenopole. In 2006, and the first wines had arrived from Greece. My plan at the time was to market them to the multitude of Greek restaurants in our city. What a mistake! The Greeks wanted to know nothing about these wines. They thought they were too expensive (it was retailing at 16$ at the time!) and I was left with a pallet to sell. I woke up one morning in a cold sweat: I had to find a solution; I need to find a client for these wines!
One of these wines was the Tselepos Mantinia 2007, a wine made with Moschofilero from the highlands of Arcadia. It has wonderful Muscat-like aromas, bright acidity and good structure. I presented it to the sommelier at the time at Toque! who loved it, and brought a glass to chef Normand Laprise. “I have the perfect wine for the Quebec asparagus now in season!” he exclaimed. Normand took a sip, and bit into a stalk of asparagus, and a look of sheer delight and revelation lit up his face. “Parfait!” he exclaimed, “C’est combien?” he asked. I replied timidly, “16$”, thinking the wine was expensive. He burst into laughter, and asked now many I had? He ended up taking most of the allocation!
So there you have it, faithful Under The Influencer. Have no fear of the notoriously difficult asparagus. If you decide to either simply dress it with olive and lemon, or serve it with a mayonnaise laced with herbs like tarragon, try it with the current vintage of Tselepos Mantinia 2018.
Another great match that hails from Greece would be the Mercouri Foloi 2018, a blend of Roditis and a touch of Viognier that tastes like a Spring morning in the mountains. It also hails from the Peloponnese but closer to the Ionian side of the peninsula.
Anecdotes aside, let’s get down to some more pairings.