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The wine for crab cakes is dry sauvignon blanc


For people who love crab, there's nothing quite like a crab cake, loaded with crab and hardly any cake.

Orlando, Fla., wine store manager Chris Carroll will tell you there is no better wine to enjoy with the cakes than sauvignon blanc from Markham Vineyards in California's Napa County.

The sauvignon blanc is a popular grape of Bordeaux and the Loire valley as well as California, Australia and New Zealand. It is known for producing dry, aggressive wines that as a rule do not age well. Most sauvignon blancs are meant to be enjoyed young.

"The current vintage is the 1990, and it is unbelievable," says Mr. Carroll. "It's full of tropical fruit flavors." Among the fruits the drinker will be able to detect, he says, are pineapple, guava, coconut and honeydew.

There also is a good deal of tropical fruit in the bouquet, and the color is a soft gold. The wine benefits from high acidity.

"The amount of acid -- and there's a fair amount in there -- gives the wine two things," says Mr. Carroll. "It gives the wine a nice spicy flavor and a taste that lingers.

"It's going to give that sensation that if you close your eyes while you've got both the crab cake and the wine in your mouth, you'll just go to epicurean heaven," he says.

Some sauvignon blancs are called fume blanc, a name that legendary vintner Robert Mondavi came up with when his sauvignon blancs weren't selling. He changed the name to suggest Pouilly-Fume, a wine from France's Loire Valley made entirely from sauvignon blanc grapes. Mr. Mondavi did not register the name, so many American wineries now use it; for some reason more people buy fume blanc than sauvignon blanc.

Ah, marketing.

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