Spring is the season for asparagus, that delicate shoot that at its best is sweet-tasting, earthy-smelling and tender. October in San Rafael brings vendors to the streetcorners with their wooden carts full of green bundles tied with string. The man who sells asparagus just outside of the supermarket Vea has the best thin stalks, much nicer than the woody thick ones sold inside the store. The price for a bundle is 4 pesos.
Years ago, when we lived in the Netherlands, the spring season was marked by the harvest of white asparagus and each restaurant featured a special white wine to accompany this delicacy. Served with melted butter, hard-boiled eggs and ham, the white asparagus was a traditional rite of spring in the province of Limburg.
At lunchtime today we decided to recreate the asparagus menu with a distinctive Argentine twist. Our wine selection was a bottle of Jean Rivier Tocai 2008, a white wine made right here in San Rafael from grapes grown in our neighbourhood, Rama Caida. The crisp citrus notes in this wine complemented the asparagus, devilled eggs and jamon crudo we paired with it, without overwhelming the light flavours of the meal.
Bodega Jean Rivier
was founded by Swiss-French immigrants in 1956, and has continued under the direction of the Rivier family to the present day. Their artisanal production includes a line of reds (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) a rose (Malbec) and whites (Tocai, Chenin Blanc). They also produce two interesting blended wines - Malbec/Bonarda and Chenin/Torrontes. We highly recommend the Jean Rivier whites. This bottle was purchased for 14 pesos at Vinoteca wine store on Ballofet.