Crabs and wine? Absolutely


It’s crab season in Southern Maryland. It’s what we do and we do it well.

But wine with crabs? And we’re talking about picking crabs, not crab cakes or some other concoctions. Well, let’s go over a few rules first.

Frying crabs should bring a prison sentence. Grilled is fine if you’re not into picking, but never fried. Just criminal.

You have to pick your own. Oh, we’ll teach you in the beginning, but at some point little bird you have to fly on your own.

No mallets. The poor thing is already dead.

No knives unless you really need one. You have 10 fingers and thumbs. Use them. Let your nails grow a little.

Old Bay Seasoning is not an option. Some folks are confused and have butter on the side. Uh, that’s for lobsters, folks.

I’m not a soft shell fan myself. If you want to eat one, go sit at another table.

Nothing less than No. 1s. Life’s too short to bother with small crabs. Hell, No. 1s (large) are what we use to call No. 3s (small) and good luck finding jumbos. They’re usually sold to restaurants in Washington or Japanese exporters for a much higher price. I don’t blame crabbers for getting the most money, but how about offering them to locals first and if we don’t buy them then sell to outsiders.

And the crabs should be from Maryland, not Virginia from whence they flee. Marylanders support Marylanders.

Now I often say drinking and picking crabs will see you drunk before you’re full even after an hour or two of cracking crabs. Most folks drink beer, but maybe you’d like wine instead.

Now they are two ways to eat crabs – hot and cold. Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me at all which way they come. But, it will affect your wine choice.

A white chardonnay is great with hot crabs. It creates a distinct flavor that complements the freshness of steamed crab. And, there’s nothing better than digging out a large lump of crab so you don’t want a wine that overpowers it. Maybe you should try the Vidal Blanc at Port of Leonardtown Wineries that winemaker Lauren Zimmerman says goes perfectly with crabs.

A Riesling is very good with cold crab. The wine has a simpler, crisper flavor that also doesn’t overpower the meat.

There are plenty of options to choose from the Southern Maryland wineries. Next time you’re at a tasting room, grab a bottle or two (most feasts need three) to go for your next crab feast after consulting the owner over which of their wines go best with crabs.

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