Why Asparagus Clashes With Most Wine, And How To Fix It

Have you ever had a bite of asparagus with your dinner, then taken a sip of your wine and thought that maybe your wine needed more time to open up? Or perhaps the bottle had gone past its prime? It turns out that asparagus and wine can clash, and it has to do with the vegetable's biological makeup.

Asparagus is very high in chlorophyll so it has that dense plant flavor. It's also high in a compound called asparagusic acid, which also contributes to its distinct taste. While this is one of the reasons why many people love it, the vegetable doesn't always go well with wine. Part of the reason is that the asparagusic acid on the palate can make wines taste metallic or a bit harsh — which is a bummer if you're planning a dinner party featuring an asparagus dish. But never fear! There are workarounds.

One of the best ways to help asparagus and wine meld better is choosing a wine that pairs well with asparagus' chlorophyll-forward flavors and natural acids. Tannic red wines are not going to pair as well with asparagus, so save your favorite Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Malbec for another night. Going with white isn't a perfect solution either, as asparagus can also clash a bit with full-bodied oaky whites like a Chardonnay. Instead, opt for lighter wines like a light Pinot Noir or crisp Sauvignon Blanc. 

Add some richness to the dish

Even if you've chosen a wine that won't clash with your veggies, you might still worry that dinner guests could be unhappy or experience an unpleasant flavor collision. Or maybe you really have your heart set on serving a bold Cabernet or an oaky Chardonnay.

To ensure that you won't offend anyone's palate, one of the best ways to mellow asparagus out is to add cheese. You can serve asparagus dusted with your favorite pecorino or Parmigiano cheese. Or you can even cover it in a wonderful cheese sauce. Asparagus pairs wonderfully with cheese — and wine does too! Cheese acts as a tasty buffer — a mediator that helps the asparagus and the wine to get along better. And it's rare that people will complain about cheese being added to their plate.

Another option is to use a richer sauce like an aioli or hollandaise to help asparagus pair better with richer wines like Riesling. With these tricks up your sleeve, you can serve asparagus and a wonderful wine at your next dinner party without worrying that a guest will be disappointed. In fact, you're more likely to receive nothing but compliments.