Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Maryland Hard Shell Crabs And New York Wine

At least once each year, we make a trip to Harvre de Grace, Maryland to pick up a bushel of Maryland crabs.  For many years our destination took us to Gablers Crab House in Aberdeen until their surprising and shocking closing in 2002 after 62 years in business.  Thus began a search for not just a Maryland crab, but a Gabler crab.  That search brought us to Price's Seafood Restaurant in Havre de Grace.  Since then, a year has not passed that we did not make our annual pilgrimage to Price's for a bushel of their crabs.  This year we may make two trips....
For those readers who have never experienced a Maryland crab boiled in red and black pepper with loads of Old Bay seasoning.....I feel sorry,  you have no idea how a hard shell crab should taste.  For my friends in Maryland, I envy you.  You live just too damn close to this delicacy.  For many years, the drink of choice has always been a good local bottled beer.  The bottle was also used to crack the claw shells (when needed) on the crab. It became a custom as well as a perfect pairing with crab meat.  This year, I broke away from that custom and in lieu of beer, I paired with Finger Lakes white wine.  I will never go back to beer!!!

First night of crabs I was looking for something a little bit on the sweet side, so I opened up a Glenora Wine Cellars Riesling 2012.($13) Not sweet enough!!  Can you believe that I am saying "not sweet enough?"  Well this was more of a semi-sweet wine, but after a few sips with the crabs, I was thinking that a very sweet (like late harvest Riesling) would have paired better.  After a few exchanges of crab and wine I changed my opinion.  Yes, a nice sweet and maybe Sparkling wine may have paired better, but the Glenora Riesling was falling right in place with the spicy crab.  Now, would a drier white wine also fair well with these spicy crabs?

Second evening I opened a Heron Hill Eclipse White 2011($14), a blend of  Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grape varietals. A little drier, but still a very nice pairing.  This blend is very versatile in terms of food pairing, from shellfish, grilled fish, poultry and spicy Maryland crabs.  The wine is also a perfect patio wine for just sipping on it's own.
We are heading back to South Carolina in October and planning to stop at Price's on our way home to New York.   Another bushel of crabs and a few more Finger Lakes wines.   

P.S. Finished crabs on third night with a Hazlitt Vineyards Unoaked Chardonnay 2012.  Just keeps getting better.

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