Crabs - which have their own advantages in eating them - have once been the food of the poor and slaves. Napoleon's preference for crabs made Saxophones popular among Europe's upper class, and the custom spread to Finland as well. Although freshwater crabs are eaten all over the world, crab festivals are especially celebrated in Finland, Sweden and the Louisiana region of the United States.
For the Finnish crab table
Spanier Gillot Riesling Kalkglimmer 2020 Organic Rheinhessen, Germany
The Finnish way of serving crabs emphasizes the crabs' own, refined taste from the lakes, but due to the use of plenty of salt, there should be plenty of freshness in the crab wine.
Kalkglimmer Riesling is a joint project of the power couple from Rheinhessen, Carol and Olivier Spanier, who pilot two VDP houses. Kalkglimmer means the glitter of lime and the wine has an intense green-apple flavor, mineral and clean character. A green-style Riesling nicely emphasizes the aromaticity of the dill sprinkled on top of the crabs.
For a Swedish-style crab table
Kuentz-Bas L'Etoile Trois Châteaux 2019 Biodynamic Alsace, France
In Sweden, the absolute side dish for crabs is the strongly flavored Västerbotten cheese, which is enjoyed with crabs on bread or as a pie. You may also find chanterelles marinated in cream at the crab table.
Side dishes that are more sophisticated than the Swedish style require a richer and more mature taste from the wine as well. The new blend of three varieties - Riesling, Pinot Gris and red Pinot Noir - by Kuentz-Bas, one of the best producers in Alsace, which produces wines biodynamically, is a ripe fruity and broad presentation of citrus acidity, red appleiness, peach and minerality. Richly flavored and tart, L'Etoile also works well with other rich fish and seafood dishes.
For Louisiana-style Crawfish Boil
Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet 2019 Biodynamic Loire, France
In Louisiana, crabs are cooked in a spicy broth with hot sausage, lemons, potatoes and corn on the cob. Melted butter and hot sauce are also included. A semi-dry Riesling, such as Carl Loewen Quant Riesling, works well with fiery crabs, but sur lie Muscadet is also an interesting choice, as the creaminess brought by the yeast lees maturation works well as a counter-pair to the heat of the chili.
Domaine de la Pépière, which was only established in 1984, has risen to the top of the Muscadet producers, because on a biodynamic farm that produces wines from 42 hectares, no compromises are made in winemaking: the wines are allowed to ferment spontaneously and enjoy a long maturation on the lees.