Asparagus is a notoriously difficult food to pair with wine. Its assertive earthy green vegetal-ness can make tannic reds or oaky whites taste “off” and unpleasantly harsh. Evan Goldstein, author of Perfect Pairings recommends that you “avoid oak-aged Chardonnay”, for instance, but “a sharper example [of Chardonnay]…can be brilliant.” What could be more brilliant than crisp apple and lemon flavors, aromas of baked brioche and a bracing minerality delivered by thousands of tiny bubbles?
Signal Ridge Bubbles to be specific. This 89% Chardonnay, 11% Pinot Noir California sparkler produced by the méthode traditionnelle has enough sharp edges to cut through the green tape and enough presence to complement the umami undertones of Greg’s Springtime Asparagus Soup with Fried Eggs. Tart lemon yellow citrus notes seem to “sauce” the asparagus while the apple pie richness provides body and balance. Bursting bubbles tingle the tongue and add a meaty elegance to this vegetarian dish. And serving sparkling wine with eggs, doesn’t that constitute a classic brunch move?
The wine’s nice dose of acidity is due to grapes grown in a mountaintop vineyard with the highest elevation in all of Napa, Sonoma and the Anderson Valley. Big shifts in temperature throughout the day and its proximity to cool breezes off the Pacific Ocean allow for longer time on the vine, which helps the grapes develop more complex and concentrated flavors.
At $25 a bottle, Signal Ridge Bubbles is about half what you’d expect to pay for (French) Champagne of a similar quality. So have it twice as often! Greg’s Springtime Asparagus Soup is a great for lunch, a wonderfully elegant first course at dinner or, dare I say it, a classy brunch choice. KEN
Also pairs well with steamed seafood, smoked salmon, herb-roasted chicken, tapas, terrines and fruit and cheese plates
- Category Sparkling Wine
- Varietal Chardonnay
- Region Anderson Valley CA