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by Fred McMillin
for February 21, 2000


Crab & Chardonnay


Prologue

Some 20,000 years ago, river crabs were a cave-dwellers' delicacy in the Near East.

"Sugar crabs" of the Yangtse River were popular in China 1,200 years ago.

Delicate line drawings of crabs were featured in the landmark, three-volume cookbook titled "The Important Things To Know About Eating and Drinking". The author was Chef Huou, who prepared the Mongolian feasts for Kublai Khan.

Marco Polo found in China markets dedicated exclusively to the sale of crabs.

Explorers in the New World found "crabs in abundance."

By the 16th century the crab had reached the royal tables of Europe. In France, Catherine de Medici served fifty of them at a grand banquet for Elizabeth of Austria.


The Rest of the Story

It took a while, but the appreciation of crab is now worldwide, as is the appreciation of its ideal companion, Chardonnay wine. Here's an outstanding one.

Photo of the 5th generation

Photo of the 5th generation.


Wine of the Day

1997 Mirassou Harvest Reserve Chardonnay
San Vicente Vineyard, Monterey County
Panel's Comments: Tropical nose; Really good in the mouth; Nice acidic burn on the finish; Intense fruit
Rating—VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Press Clippings: Cal State Fair—Double Gold, Best of Class
Wine & Spirits—90 points
Restaurant Wine Magazine—Five stars
Wine Spectator—90 points
History—The fifth generation of "America's oldest winemaking family" began to take a good share of the reponsibility in 1966, when the firm was 112 years old. (see photo of Peter, Jim and Daniel, left to right),
Contact—Office of Dave Muret, (408) 274-4000, FAX (408) 270-5881
Price—$23 range


Postscript— A Vocal Crab Fan

Nearly 100 years ago, a new dish was created in San Francisco, Crab Louis Salad. One of the guests at the Palace Hotel is said to have ordered so much so frequently that the kitchen temporarily ran out of crab meat. He was none other than the magnificent Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, who incidentally was born 127 years ago this week.

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 


This page created February 2000

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