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You can’t go wrong with medium-bodied whites and sparkling wines.
Crab cakes combine light, sweet crabmeat with crispy, fried crumbs and rich cream sauces. Lots of wines can work, depending on the other flavors involved, but you can’t go wrong with medium-bodied whites and sparkling wines.
Champagne or Cava. Sparkling wine with almost anything fried is a winner, and crab cakes are no exception. If you can splurge, go for Champagne: The real stuff has brioche notes that are especially good with crisp fried crumbs and mayo-based sauces. If a cheap bottle is what you need, try Spanish Cava, which is exceptionally versatile.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. If your cakes have lots of herbs or fruity dipping sauces, the super aromatic and tropical-fruited style of Sauvignon Blanc works well. This wine is also great when the cakes have a little extra heat from jalapeños or Asian chile sauces.
Pinot Blanc. These whites from the Alsace region in France or from California or Oregon have flavors that range from apples to pears to peaches to citrus. In general, they’re not overly acidic and have a lovely soft texture that’s great with most crab cakes. Think of Pinot Blanc as a fun alternative to Chardonnay, a classic crab cake pairing.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.