Crab is sweet and delicate, so a lot of the wines you’d normally choose would be obvious: something mineral-driven with a nice acidity. Nothing too powerful. But all the sauces that come with this particular crab meal complicate things. There’s yuzu, which is citrusy and incredibly aromatic, umami in the browned butter with shallots, and peppery horseradish sauce, which brings the heat.
It was important to pair to the sauces rather than the crab itself. This means more body and texture than you’d normally expect. The list is going to change often—but here’s a quick guide for what to expect from these different styles.
SPARKLING | Les Clandestins Les Semblables Buxières sur Arce Champagne MV
For crab, you want a sparkling wine that’s broader in flavor with a rounder texture. So I looked to the southwestern part of Champagne and specifically pinot noir grapes. This champagne is made from 100% Pinot Noir with minimal intervention, resulting in a racy, mineral style with a savory finish. It is an energetic wine to get the palate started at the beginning of the experience.
WHITE | Valdesil Godello Sobre Lías Valdeorras, Galicia 2016
The ideal white for this meal has structure and is semi-aromatic. The sharpness on the palate is being handled by the sauce, so you need depth with this wine. Valdesil is the owner of the oldest Godello vines, native to northern Spain, in the world and all plots of the Sobre Lías are from those that were originally planted by the family in the late 1800s. This particular wine is light, refreshing, and delicately perfumed with honey, citrus, and stone fruit—all complementary of the array of sauces that accompany the crab.
ROSÉ | Antica Terra Angelicall Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2016
This is a darker, richer style of rose that you don’t often see, and it’s a really interesting pairing with the brightness of the crab. The soil it’s grown in features sandstone with fossilized sea material. This is a proprietary blend of primarily Pinot Noir, with a lot of minerality and an herbaceous character, and it’s versatile enough to be enjoyed with all aspects of the crab preparation.
RED | M. Jagini Zagersdorf Blaufränkisch 2011
For the red, we needed something with structure that isn’t overwhelmingly tannic. I worked more with the noodle dish on this pairing. This is a medium-bodied wine that comes from old vines in the small Austrian village of Zagersdorf. It’s peppered with warm spice and laced with soft black fruit without the weight of a Syrah and pairs excellently with the flavors in the noodles.