Food & wine matching with Tom – Crab and Riesling

Swing open an indie wine merchant’s door in July and you’ll gauge if they’re on the pulse or not by whether you’re hit by a sharp, bright waft of apricots, citrus and pineapple. If it smells like they may have knocked over a small can of petrol, that shouldn’t necessarily put you off entering either. Although, perhaps have a cursory glance about initially. And put your fag out. Just in case.

July is, after all, the month of 31 Days Of German Riesling and those aromas are what you’re looking for on a tight, lean, electric frame. There’s even a hashtag for it. Basically, loads of indies take the month to offer special pricing, tastings and ‘extras’ of all kinds (I’m not sure that was how they phrased it in the press-release, Surge). It is a brilliant time to try Riesling or get back on the horse if you’ve fallen off. Here is my hot wine recommendation this week, plus a couple of others I love too and some much-needed crustacean-based whimsy…

A whole crab. Through the front door from a local fishing boat. Look online for yours. Mercifully cooked already: Bea and Olivia had made it clear I was not to learn how to dispatch one myself during lockdown, in our open plan kitchen living room. I had reluctantly agreed. I googled how to take one apart and set about the cracking and whacking and pulling and picking about at it. You need lots of bowls to put bits in. It was brilliant. End result – the best crab sandwich lunch ever and ten minutes of total conviction that I could be the next Rick Stein.

In my crabby mits I kept picking up and swirling a glass of Weingut Frey Riesling Feinherb 2018. At 11.5% ABV it’s a genius daytime wine and every fresh crab’s perfect partner. It’s lifted and bright with welcoming lemon, pineapple, pear fruit and candle wax on the nose. I love it. The palate is off dry (‘Feinherb’ tells you the wine will be somewhere between off-dry and medium sweet) and packed with that delicious pineapple fruit. It’s refreshing, well balanced and lingers on nicely. A simple-enough, delicious example of great German Riesling. You’ll find it for £18 at Red Squirrel or on

Frey’s fab Riesling would work brilliantly with spicy food too – I like a bit of brandy and cayenne in my brown crab meat dressing it turns out, and this set it off a treat. If you fancy spicy Singapore style crab instead, this wine will sing.

Other Riesling hits to look out for in July:

I really rated Weingut Corvers Kauter’s 2018 R3 Riesling. Also available at Red Squirrel for £22. It’s a super dry, electrically fresh style packed full of intense lime, fresh peaches and apricot. Really cool.

Another off-dry banger was Domdechant Werner Hochheim, Classic Riesling 2018 available for £16.75 from Tanners and Laithwaites. It’s like walking through an orchard at harvest and has a little tingle of spritz.

Tom Surgey
1st July 2020