Wine Advocate Weekend Pairings: White Asparagus and White Port

Food lovers, rejoice: we’ve got a brand new series here at Wine Journal happening every Friday, where we bring forth a sample menu replete with recipes from chefs around the world provided by our friends at the MICHELIN Guide, all to be paired with wines by Wine Advocate reviewers. 

For the first weekend of summer, we’re looking to grill—specifically, chef Greg Proechel’s white asparagus dish (pictured above) at the recently opened Ferris restaurant in New York City. Large stalks of white asparagus, about the thickness of your thumb, are first blanched to cook through and then grilled for a nice char. They get topped with a pickled green almond relish, emulsified house-made almond milk, lime and some fried anchovies. (Proechel notes that dried anchovies can be found in most Asian grocery stores.) 

As for a wine pairing, Mark Squires suggests a well-aged white Port. “As they get very old, 30, 40 years or the like, they acquire characteristics somewhat similar to a tawny, but they are much more gentle,” he says. “They have a complex flavor medley that plays well with many things. Of course, at this point you're matching tapas and Port. You'll need something else for dinner.”
(Photo: Centrolina.)

Good thing we’ve got you covered with reginette pasta with peas, carrots and beets from chef Amy Brandwein of Centrolina in Washington, D.C. Reginette (also known as mafaldine), is "typically a ribbon-shaped pasta, usually about 1 centimeter (½ inch) in width, with wavy edges on both sides," according to Brandwein. She stuffs hers with a mixture of burrata and ricotta cheese, tosses it in a Parmesan-butter sauce and serves it with peas, carrots and beets. 

“So you need Oregon Chardonnay for this,” says reviewer and former sommelier Erin Brooks. “It has zesty acidity, but a rich fruit profile that will work with both elements of the dish. Try the 2014 Goodfellow Family Cellars Chardonnay Durant Vineyard.”
The After Eight dessert at The Clocktower in NYC. (Photo by @andrewhektor Instagram.)

End your meal with something sweet, like pastry chef Brian Yurko’s “After Eight” dessert. The “After Eight,” a modern take on the wildly popular wafer-thin mint chocolates, is a star on the dessert menu at The Clocktower in New York City, featuring a crunchy-meets-silky chocolate mousse that’s paired with devil’s food cake, chocolate crumbs and a mint ice cream.

“The idea behind pairing wines with sweet dishes is that the wine should always be a little bit sweeter than the dessert to avoid any bitter flavors,” adds Brooks. “Since this dessert is actually lighter on the palate, bubbles would be a great complement. A demi sec from A Margaine itself has a fuller, richer profile on the mouth, which would bring out the sweetness in the dessert really well." 

Hero image by Aaron Hutcherson.

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