Crab makes for some of the best seafood dishes in the world. The taste of crab may vary slightly by species—there are over 4,500 species of crab in the world, though not all are edible—but generally crab is known for its delicate, sweet, tender meat. The best way to elevate your crab meal is with a bottle of wine, but what do you choose?
Generally speaking, crab is a delicate meat that will require an equally delicate wine. Light, crisp whites will be your best option as they will complement the natural sweetness of the crab without overpowering it’s understated flavours, however there may be a few occasions when a full-bodied white or even a light-bodied red may be appropriate.
Best Red Wine With Crab
If you are going red, make sure it is light and low in tannins, as tannins can give seafood a metallic taste. Also ensure it is a wine you can drink slightly chilled for optimal pairing.
- Barbera: juicy, light, and acidic with notes of strawberry and sour cherry.
- Pinot Noir: always a popular choice; light on body, high on aromatics.
- Beaujolais: also known as Gamay, light, fruity and low tannins.
- Lambrusco: a slight bubbliness with strong berry notes.
Best White Wine With Crab
Whites, particularly those with citrus and crisp acidity, are natural complements to seafood and will enhance the flavour of the crab.
- Chablis: light, dry with citrus, pear and minerality.
- Albariño: Dry, high acidity, and citrus zest and floral aromatics.
- Pinot Grigio: smooth, refreshing, with bright fruit flavours.
- Champagne: Bubbly, floral, and fruity with notes of citrus, peach, or cherry.
- Chardonnay: dry, buttery, and oaky with moderate tannins and acidity.
- Rosé: bright, crisp acidity with strong berry flavour.
Pairing Wine With Various Crab Dishes
Wine With Maryland Crab Cakes
These crab cakes tend to be on the rich side so an unoaked Chardonnay or even a dry sparkling wine would be good choices here.
Wine With Crab Chowder or Crab Bisque
A Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay will stand up to the richness of these soups and provide a nice balance of acid.
Wine With Crab Salad
Chablis or Albariño will elevate your crab salad to unexpected levels.
Wine With Linguine with Crab
Garlic and red chili will usually accompany the crab in this dish. An Albariño or Riesling will complement the spice and cool the palate.
Wine With Crab Legs
It does not get better than a cool, crisp glass of Chablis with crab legs: a perfect pairing.
Wine With Crab Imperial
This dish consists of crabmeat, mayo, and sherried white sauce. A Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc offers a nice balance to this creamy dish.
Wine With Fried Crab
Champagne is lovely with any fried food, but it pairs exceptionally well with delicate crab.
Wine With Softshell Crab
You have a few options with Softshell Crab. Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay will elevate this popular crab dinner.
Wine With Crab Rangoon
The best pairing for Crab Rangoon is Vinho Verde, but Rosé also makes a surprisingly great match to this Chinese appetizer.
Wine With Crab Au Gratin
This decadent dish of crab, cheese, and potatoes will call for an unoaked Chardonnay or Viognier.
Wine With Crab Macaroni and Cheese
You will want some acid to cut through all that rich, salty cheese. Try a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
Wine With Crab Ceviche
Something as light as Ceviche needs an equally light wine. Chablis is perfect.
Wine With Stone Crab
Stone crab is sweet and delicate and often served with a garlic sauce. Chablis or Albariño both complement without overshadowing the meat.
Wine With Blue Crab or Snow Crab
Albariño or Sauvignon Blanc will easily elevate both Blue Crab and Snow Crab.
Wine With Dungeness Crab
Dungeness crab is typically steamed or boiled and served with melted butter, and the meat has a sweet, nutty flavour. You have a few great pairing options here: Sparkling wine, Rosé, Albariño or even a Beaujolais.
Wine With Alaskan King Crab
King Crab is richer and takes a fuller-bodied white wine. Chardonnay is always a great choice.