What to Pair with Crawfish this Season

In Louisiana it’s crawfish season and that means backyard boils at home and crawfish cakes and etouffees and all sorts of other versions you can imagine on restaurant menus in New Orleans. At Bourbon House the charbroiled oysters are topped with sautéed tails, at Tableau and Palace Café the Louisiana delicacy is the perfect adornment to Gulf fish and at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, the crawfish cake makes a delicious seasonal replacement for its popular sister, the jumbo lump crab cake.

To complete the experience it’s nice to have a beverage the complements the complexity of crawfish. Most will tell you that an ice cold beer is the perfect pairing with boiled crawfish and we’re apt to agree, but it’s not your only option. We asked our in-house sommelier at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Chris Schneider for his two-cents and he suggested Joh. Jos. Prüm Riesling, Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese, Mosel, Germany 2009.

Chris explains that the Prüm estate, currently run by Dr. Manfred Prüm, has been producing world-class wine in Germany’s Mosel region for generations. The 2009 harvest was preceded by warm weather which lead to well ripened Riesling grapes being picked from the Graacher Himmelreich vineyard. The resulting wine shows lots of creamy stone fruit flavors balanced by notes of citrus and slate. This cuts through the spice and fat of the crawfish and results in a balanced pairing that’s an elevated alternative to beer.

Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse’s sommelier, Chris Schneider’s passion for wine began while traveling with his family in Europe as a late teen. His family had an antique store in New Orleans and their days consisted of buying antiques to sell in their shop. At night they ate out and wine was enjoyed as part of the experience. Although he appreciated wine, it wasn’t until his first job as a waiter at an upscale restaurant that he began to take it seriously. He recalls the story of one of the owner’s relatives asking him for “a B&B,” the only B&B he was familiar with was a bread and butter plate. He brought him the plate, and some time went by and he again was asked for a B&B. Although he thought it was an odd request, he went and brought him another plate. At that point the owner’s relative realized the confusion and told him that he was trying to order a Brandy and Benedictine. That was a turning point for Chris. He realized that if he was going to stay working in the food and beverage industry he needed to educate himself in all things food and drink.

After years of self study, combined with several trips to California wine country and several positions at notable New Orleans restaurants, Hurricane Katrina relocated him and his family to Florida. There he was responsible for purchasing wine in a small chain of three wine and cheese stores. Although he learned a lot, it wasn’t home. In 2013 he moved back to New Orleans and joined Dickie Brennan & Co. at Palace Café. During that time he began his progression through the Court of Master Sommeliers and after receiving his certified sommelier pin became the sommelier at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse.

Chris leads weekly wine education classes with Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse staff and continues to lend his expertise to enhance the wine experience at the restaurant. He’ll be giving us regular wine suggestions to share with you. He’s also available for questions you may have. So ask away and we’ll get you some answers!