The best wines to pair with crab
Crab is one of the most delicious kinds of shellfish and the perfect foil for a crisp white wine. But there are other crab dishes that pair better with a fuller-bodied white or even a red.
Top wine pairings with crab
You want to be able to taste the delicate meat so I’d suggest a classic Chablis or fine white burgundy such as Puligny-Montrachet. (The same would apply to fresh crab sandwiches or a simple crab salad though I might well pick a Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé for the latter, especially if it included asparagus. See also this match with 17 year old Muscadet!)
Linguine with crab
Quite a spicy recipe that usually includes garlic and red chilli and occasionally lemon. You could drink a citrussy (rather than a herbaceous) Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Kabinett Riesling with it but I’d go for a good quality Pinot Grigio, Soave or Albariño.
Rich and luxurious this recipe normally contains cream and cognac as well as having a dominant flavour of brown crab meat - a good opportunity to crack open a seriously good barrel-fermented Chardonnay with a couple of years’ bottle age. White Rhône and Languedoc blends of Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier work well too.
Thai crab cakes
My choice would depend on whether I was having these as a snack on their own or as part of a Thai meal. If it was the former I’d go for a dry Riesling or a Loire Sauvignon Blanc. With the latter I’d look for a wine with slightly more sweetness such as a Pinot Gris or a spätlese Riesling. Witbier is the other great pick as you’ll see from this Match of the Week.
Maryland crab cakes
The classic American crab cake, much richer than the Thai ones, but with a spicy kick. Unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay would be the safe choice but I’m not sure I wouldn’t reach for an Albariño.
Crab, saffron and leek quiche
Saffron is the key in this Rick Stein recipe. I love Viognier and Viognier blends with saffron-infused dishes so I’d go for that.
Deep-fried soft shell crabs
Sometimes these are served with a strong punchy dressing but I think, if you want to appreciate the delicate flavour of the crab, it’s better to serve them relatively simply. As with other deep-fried foods they go fantastically well with champagne and other sparkling wines.
Crab in black bean sauce
Always a tricky one as black bean sauce is so pungent but I came across a brilliant match at the Four Seasons hotel in Park Lane where chef Tak of Lung King Heen, the Cantonese restaurant at the Four Seasons Hong Kong was cooking for a week to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
His version was the best crab in black bean sauce I’ve ever eaten - deep and aromatic in flavour, sweet but not cloying. It was matched with a decent but not exceptional Mud House Pinot Noir from New Zealand and the pairing was spot on. I suspect you’d need a fuller, richer Pinot with most commercial black bean sauces.
Image by Larisa Blinova at shutterstock.com
If you found this post useful and were happy to get the advice for free perhaps you'd think about donating towards the running costs of the site? You can find out how to do it here or to subscribe to our regular newsletter click here.