Wine & Food

Snooth User: ScottLauraH

A perfect wine pairing for the Chesapeake Bay region

Posted by ScottLauraH, Sep 21, 2011.

Here, in the rural part of the Chesapeake Bay region, local seafood is the cuisine of choice.  Rightly so, because it's hard to beat eating crabs and oysters literally harvested the same day that you are eating them.  Rockfish season is also on the horizon, and my father in law and husband are known to come back from a day of fishing with as much as the law allows. 

It's pretty simple to pair wine with a simple crabcake, or rockfish filet with lemon butter, or roasted oysters.  (At least, it is for me.  If you're going to drink wine in coastal Virginia, those pairings better be nothing short of second nature!) 

It's the fall and winter surf and dishes that make the pairings so much more difficult.  I am often stumped by what to pair with a filet mignon topped with crab imperial, or rockfish roasted with fingerling potatoes and wrapped in smithfield bacon, or a fresh hamburger topped with lump crabmeat and Old Bay mayonnaise.  Even my friends I consider experts on wine have trouble with those pairings. 

So, just for fun, what would you drink with a filet mignon topped with crab imperial?  Rockfish wrapped in bacon and roasted with fingerling potatoes?  A hamburger topped with lump crab and Old Bay mayo?


Reply by EMark, Sep 21, 2011.


I would think that you should try to match to the most predominant profile of your dish.

I would try to match the wine with the filet (when you say "with..., to me that means the filet is the star of the dish).  So, I would think of a claret

The rockfish wrapped in bacon is tough because of the salty profile.  I might try a Chianti.  (Yes, Mr. Bond, the red kind.)  The other idea would be a totally untrendy, these days, oaky chardonnay.

For the hamburger/crab/mayo I would think of a Rioja.  A crianza, though.  Hamburgers are fun and casual, I would not suggest getting carried away with a reserve wine.

Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 21, 2011.

EMark, I think the Chianti is a great suggestion for the rockfish.  I had also thought about a RRV Pinot. 

The last time I had the filet topped with crab imperial, I matched the wine to the filet, and it totally overpowered the crab.  I think sometime soon I want to really play around with that pairing. 

With the burger, I have also thought it would be good with the Beujolais Nouveau, when it comes out.  Maybe also a light tuscana rosso.

Reply by EMark, Sep 21, 2011.

This afternoon I was driving the freeways to a meeting and your question popped into my mind.  I do agree with your idea of a Beaujoais Nouveau (if you are going to do this in November), but the other thing I thought of would be good for a summer backyard/patio meal with the burgers--rose.  I am not a rose guru, but it seems to me that it might work for you

Reply by napagirl68, Sep 22, 2011.

Rockfish wrapped in bacon:   Syrah from cool sonoma area... RRV or sonoma coast:  Balletto Vineyads recommend..  RRV Pinot... Dutton for sure.  But for a white..skip.  The bacon will overwhelm the fish.  A bit chard might work, but is not ideal 

Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 22, 2011.

@Napagirl, a Sonoma Syrah might be really great!  That's why I love posting these pairing questions... so I get new ideas. 

@EMark, I think a rose might also work well with the burger. 

Reply by cosmoscaf, Sep 22, 2011.

Filet with crab imperial: a dry Alsatian Riesling.

rockfish wrapped w/bacon w/fingerling potatoes, roasted: the Chianti suggestion sounds very good, but the Sonoma Coast Syrah sings about rockfish

Hamburger with lump crab and mayo: Rosé, very dry, Toad Hollow's Eye of the Toad.


Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 27, 2011.

Okay, I'm a little late weighing in, but we just did a tri-tip and white fish with tomato water and olives back at the end of August.  The white fish (true cod, this time) was recommended by winemaker Steve Mclaren to go with his Sonoma County Syrah.  We blind tasted that with a St. Joseph that was his benchmark and it went off fantastically.  For the fish and meat meal, I really like cool weather Syrah. 

But the crab on the burger is a slightly different story, and I might lean toward that rose recommendation.  A Tavel, which is a bit stronger.  I had a rose of pinot noir from Coelho that would have done the trick.  Or one from Spain, like the Chivite, which is just such a great deal at $10 or so.  The Beaujolais in the fall is a nice call, too, but at the end of the summer or during Indian Summer, I like the rose idea.

Next time I'm down there in the middle Atlantic, let's try a few of these out!

Reply by ScottLauraH, Sep 28, 2011.

Foxall, that would be a lot of fun. 

My husband's birthday is in a few weeks, and one of his favorite meals is the filet topped with crab imperial, so I will be testing this pairing very soon.  I really think I'm going to try it with a Syrah.  I have several great options in the store to choose from. 

As for the rockfish, I will wait to try that until the first catch of the season comes back in late November or early December.  The rock likes the Rappahannock to nice and cold before they start coming around. 

Reply by Richard Foxall, Sep 28, 2011.

Here is the recipe I used for the fish with tomato water recipe.  I used oil cured olives and it just rocked. Definitely a recipe for a slightly harder edged northern Rhone or cooler weather Syrah like the MacLaren Syrah (he sources from a couple places that aren't usually associated with cooler weather, but he is very careful that they have the profile he wants for his St. Joseph like wines). Lots of other good choices, and NG is probably your go to for Sonoma Syrah these days. I'd consider a Pisoni or Roar Syrah from Sant Lucia HIghlands, as well, or one made from their grapes, although I have little experience with them, but I know the area well, and have a bunch of the pinots from down there.  Novy, the Syrah label of Adam Lee (Siduri Pinot) makes syrah from their grapes and they can be found on the web.

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