July 17, 2022 by Arden Montgomery
Best Wine for Crawfish Boil
Imagine you’ve been invited to a party on a dock in the Louisiana Bayou. A jug band has been promised, along with corn biscuits, dirty rice, and of course a spicy, savory crawfish boil right in the middle of everything. The host asked you to come with a bottle of your favorite beverage to share. What are you bringing?
If your answer was wine, you’re already a step ahead (also definitely in the right place.) It might not be the most intuitive pairing in the world, but an authentic crawfish recipe is complex and deep, like the ecosystem of a southern swamp or a bottle of really good vino. It follows that the two would compliment each other.
So if you know the answer is “wine,” but you’re not entirely sure which one, welcome. We’ll figure it out together.
How to pair wine with crawfish
If you are in Louisiana, definitely do your best to find a local wine that will bring you the terroir unique to that humid and bioactive environment. If not, there are some varietals you can reach for that will get the job done – however you boil your fish.
The broader “seafood boil” leaves a lot of wiggle room for home chefs to adjust ingredients and spices to their liking. But if you’re going for a crawfish dish that a Louisiannan would be proud of, there are a few must-haves to include.
Attend any of the many crawfish festivals you will find around the state in the months of April, May, and June, and you will be greeted by a hearty dish seasoned with cayenne, hot sauce, lemon, and bay leaf. In the pot will be rounds of corn, new potatoes, whole heads of garlic, onions, shrimp, and the critters themselves. Your boilmaster may also choose to include sausage and mushrooms in the final stew. Once it’s ready, expect to feast off of a picnic table covered with newspapers, or straight out of a traditional bayou fishing boat.
What this means is that the wine you choose needs to be bold enough to stand up to strong flavors, but soft enough to cool the heat of all that capsaicin you’re going to run into. We’ve got a few ideas.
Best wine for crawfish
- 2020 Von Winning Sauvignon Blanc II – $24
Sauvignon Blanc is one wine that experts agree pairs perfectly with a really classic crawfish boil. Crispy and light, the dry but fragrant white is totally refreshing and great at melting away the cayenne heat while still supporting the flavors of the dish more broadly. And this German Gem offers an extra-special experience with fruity, creamy flavors made to both soothe and delight.
- 2019 Anza Diego Magaña Rioja – $31
The touch of Malvasia in this Tempranillo-heavy red blend is really what you’re after when sipping alongside a pile of crawfish and blackeyed peas. Of course the other grapes included all have something significant to bring to the party, resulting in the winemaker’s “favorite rioja” he’s ever made. Truly a treat for your feast.
- 2018 Fiano di Avellino Rocca Del Principe – $26
Margaux’s favorite wine of all time just happens to pair perfectly with savory, spicy crustaceans. Experts recommend an Albarino for a great pair to the aromatics of a crawfish boil, but this soft and mineral-forward white gets the job done with an added air of elegance. Expect flavors of green apple, lime skin, pear, and herbs to uplift and smooth out the dish before you.
- 2017 François Mikulski Volnay ‘Santenots du Milieu’ Premier Cru – $130
Sweet, deep, and dark, the Premier Cru is to be savored and adored as you would any precious thing. It’s endlessly complex, with a palate that shifts and bends like branches of the Mangrove tree as time passes between each sip. Leather, dark plum, cherry, and peony are followed by mocha and tarragon, are followed by strawberry and raspberry, are followed by utter bliss.
- 2019 Graci Etna Rosso – $30
If you’re allergic to whites but want something sweet to cool your palate after a blast of red pepper, it must be a Pinot Noir. That’s not what this is, but you’ll love it all the same. A Nerello Mascalese blend offers the same citrusy, fruity, herbaceous sweetness that will match the briny body of the crawfish itself while dimming the heat so you can really taste what the cayenne is bringing to the table.
- NV Champagne Delavenne Père & Fils Brut Rosé Grand Cru – $60
Here’s the Pinot, and the Chardonnay! Pink bubbles are really the star of the show at a Bayou banquet, featuring a flute of sparkles that reflect the glitter of fireflies and clear, southern night sky. Strawberries, whipped cream, and rose petals come through beautifully in this true Champagne, washing elegance and delight over your palate and your party.
If the tasting notes we talked about throughout this article aren’t quite so intuitive yet, Argaux has you covered. We offer an array of tasting kits and experiences that will help you learn the world of wine while sipping your way through our collection of small-batch viticultural delights.
Start with our blind tasting kit and learn to discern varietals, origins, and even brands through visual and visceral aspects of drinking wine.