White asparagus, with its earthy, delicately nutty taste, has a distinctive balance of slightly sweet and bitter flavours that are notoriously tricky to pair with wine. The Wine Rambler explains, “Asparagus is said to be difficult to match with wine as it can make them metallic or bitter. However, a fresh, citrussy white should do fine. My standard recommendation for asparagus would be Silvaner, a very food-friendly white wine, or a dry Riesling. Sauvignon Blanc would also work, though it’s harder to find a local one as it is not common in Germany – Mosbacher in the Pfalz make a lovely one”.
I tend towards white wines that are full-bodied, not too light or acidic, and not too high in alcohol: depending on how I’m having my white asparagus, I like a Weißburgunder (pinot gris), a Silvaner, a dry Riesling or even a Chardonnay. On her excellent food and wine paring website, Guardian wine columnist Fiona Beckett suggests a young Grüner Veltliner or even a dry Muskateller, whilst the German Wine Institute advises that “the subtle aromas of Silvaner from Rheinhessen or Franken, as well as Gutedels from Baden provide flavor-rich asparagus with plenty of room to move and breathe”. The best way to choose what to drink with white asparagus is really to consider how you’re preparing your white asparagus, and what you’re serving it with. The German Wine Institute offers some good advice as to what works best for various sauces and salads on their White Asparagus Pairings page.
If you’re eating out and not very confident about choosing what to drink with white asparagus, I’d suggest asking your server for a recommendation. If you’d prefer to decide yourself but are a little overwhelmed by the wine list, as a rule of thumb it’s generally best to stick with a fresh, dry (trocken) or medium (halbtrocken) white wine.