The One Wine You Should Drink with Asparagus & Artichokes

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Christine Han)

If you’ve ever tried to sip a glass of Cabernet alongside roasted asparagus or stewed artichokes, you probably had an unpleasant experience. Did the wine taste bitter and almost metallic? Don’t worry — your wine isn’t bad. This is often what happens when you drink wine with these veggies. Both are known for being quite difficult to pair with wine due to this effect, but luckily there is one bottle that matches up perfectly.

Why Wine Is Hard to Pair with Asparagus & Artichokes

Both vegetables are rich in umami, which can change how you perceive the taste of wine. It decreases the perception of body, sweetness, and fruitiness in wine, and increases the perception of bitterness. That means wines that are supposed to be fruity, with good body and balance, can taste vegetal, bitter, and far from themselves when sipped after a spear of asparagus is gobbled up.

The Best Wine to Sip

Reach for a bottle of Grüner Veltliner. The dry white wine from Austria is a perfect match for both vegetables. It’s an extra-crisp, high-acid wine with flavors of citrus and herbs. The high level of acidity actually acts as a foil for the umami-rich flavor of asparagus and artichokes, so that you won’t get those harsh tastes when you sip the wine. The acidity masks these savory flavors when you sip it after eating, so the savory flavors won’t alter the wine and the wine will taste as it should: crisp, bright, and tasty.

It also doesn’t hurt that a decent bottle won’t break the bank — you can easily find a good bottle in the $10 to $15 range at almost any wine store. Trader Joe’s usually carries at least one that hovers even below that range, and the ones I’ve grabbed have always been a success. That means you can enjoy it alongside your favorite asparagus and artichoke dishes all spring long.

6 Recipes to Try with Grüner Veltliner