The best wine to pair with Crab Cakes are Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Vermentino, Viognier and Prosecco. Crab Cakes require crisp and acidic white wines to cut through the delicious fried breading so you can taste the heavenly and subtle crab flavours within. If your Crab Cakes are sautéed in butter or baked, I would suggest an oaked Chardonnay as the buttery flavours of the wine will complement the baked Crab Cake texture.
Vermentino is a crisp white wine that features aromatic notes of green apple, grapefruit, lemon, nuts, mineral, pear, stone and herbs. If you’re eating Crab Cakes by the sea, Vermentino is the white wine I would reach for. Unfortunately, Vermentino is a hard wine to track down as it’s primarily made in coastal regions of Italy and not much of it is imported into North America.
The high acidity of Vermentino and its herbaceous bite makes it a lovely wine to pair with Crab Cakes, as the herbal notes mingle wonderfully with the buttery flavours of your Crab Cakes. The fats of the Crab Cakes pick up the herbal notes and swirl them throughout your mouth in such a fascinating way. Meanwhile, the mineral and stone notes complement the salty flavours you’ll pick up with your crab meat.
Sauvignon Blanc & Crab Cake Pairing
Sauvignon Blanc and crab cake is a classic pairing that is widely loved by seafood and wine enthusiasts alike. The crisp, refreshing acidity of Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect contrast against the rich, buttery flavour of crab cakes. Furthermore, the wine’s acidity also helps to cut through the richness of the crab cake, leaving a refreshing finish in the mouth. Acidity also acts as a magic highlighter, brightening the sea-kissed flavours of the crab meat.
Sauvignon Blanc is rife with flavours of lemon, lime, grapefruit, gooseberry and pineapple, which refresh your mouth. However, with Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll also find notes of grass and green herbs, which bring extra complexity to this pairing.
My favourite white wine is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, as I adore the dry and puckering grapefruit notes it brings to every sip. With Crab Cakes pairing, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will be amazing. For the ultimate pairing, I will admit that Sancerre, which is a French Sauvignon Blanc, will blow Sauvignon Blanc out of the water. Sancerre brings more flavours of minerality (flint, stone, gun smoke) to the table while maintaining that much-needed acidity needed to cut through the crispy exterior of a fried Crab Cake.
Savennières & Crab Cake Pairing
Savennières is a white wine you’ve probably never even heard about, as it’s not a popular white wine you’ll find on shelves or on wine lists. If you can hunt a bottle down, I’d highly recommend giving it a try with crab cakes. Savennières hails from the Loire Valley of France and is made from the Chenin Blanc grape.
Savennières is a lively and intense white wine with rich flavours of honey, pear, apple, candied citrus, chalk, minerals and white pepper. The chalky mineral and salt notes of Savennières are spectacular with the crab meat as they conjure up memories of a gentle sea breeze. Crab is a bit salty and sweet, and Savennières has qualities that complement the perfect balance of your crab meat without drowning any of the other delicious flavours out.
Finally, the high acidity of Savennières shears through the rich buttery breading of your Crab Cake, delivering refreshing flavours of citrus, pear, apple and pineapple.
Chardonnay & Crab Cake Pairing
Chardonnay and Crab Cake Pairing deserves a higher ranking here, but I’ve kept it at a four as there are so many variables that must fall into place to pull off those higher rankings.
If your Crab Cakes are buttery and rich, and you can dig up a Chardonnay with subtle butter flavours, prepare your mouth for taste heaven! The buttery texture and flavouring of your Chardonnay will play off one another, exposing your taste buds to heightened layers of joy. A good Chardonnay also has amazing apple, peach, pear, and pineapple flavours that offer a contrasting finish that will leave your mouth clean at the end of every sip.
For Chardonnay and Crab Cakes to pair up, you’ll need a bottle of Chardonnay that is $20 or more to be safe. Inexpensive Chardonnay, in many instances, can be an abomination of artificial flavourings, and cheap wine-making methods which can end up making the wine taste like rancid popcorn. This style of wine-making has its place in the world, as it appeals to the masses. But for the love of Bacchus, please keep this swill away from your Crab Cakes.
*Before someone chews me out – Yes, there are hundreds of fantastic Chardonnays that sell for under $20. Many of these won’t be oaked enough to have a pleasant buttery texture as oak aging is expensive.
Prosecco & Crab Cake Pairing
Prosecco and crab cake is another delicious pairing that is worth trying. Prosecco’s light and bubbly nature is an excellent complement to the rich and creamy crab cake. The wine’s effervescence helps to cleanse the palate between bites, making it a perfect match for the decadent flavours of the dish. The fruity notes of Prosecco, such as apple, pear, and peach, also contrast the savoury flavours of the crab meat. Additionally, the wine’s crisp acidity helps to cut through the richness of the crab cake, leaving a clean finish in the mouth. Overall, Prosecco and crab cake pairing is a delightful combination that balances the food and wine’s flavours.