State Crustacean of Oregon; Dungeness crab

Oregon Crab

In 2009, a school in Oregon succeeded in lobbying for and naming-what’s essentially Washington grown; as their state crustacean. School children in West Linn primary had the foresight to see that this species, well adopted to Oregon’s unique coast, could be of importance to the Oregonian economy.

Oregon could easily take the prize for most unique and interesting state. There is so much to list; record holder for most ghost towns in the US, a wonderous picturesque landscape, a melting pot of diverse cultures, and a deep pioneering spirit led on with the motto ‘Keep Oregon Weird’.

Oregon’s unique waterways are well provided thus the quality in seafood can be seen. Fishing miles cover over 700 miles of cool undeveloped coast from Astoria to Brookings. Local seafood veterans help you catch your own. Not to worry, minimal gear is required.

The Dungeness crab are famous for their sweet flavor regardless of where harvested on the Oregonian coast.

The Wine Pairing

One cannot speak of Oregon and fail to mention its phenomenal Pinot Noir which accounts for up to two- thirds of its overall production but it is not because of this that we think of pairing it with Dungeness Crab. Oregon’s production is no small feat for the sixth largest US producer of wine in the United States. Boasting seven major growing regions and 18 designated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), Pinot Noir accounts for 15,500 acres in vineyards ranging between 200 to 800 feet grown on South and Southeast facing slopes.

Rich with varying terroir ranging from volcanic top soils to marine sedimentary soil, Oregon Pinot Noir lends itself to different yet memorable interpretations. You are sure to find wines that show emphasis on fruit, soft floral aromas, hints of spice and soft smooth tannin. Others with dusty, dry notes emphasizing earthy notes and black fruit with high acidity.

The complexities of style in Oregon Pinot Noir made a memorable mark in wine history; having been judged favorably against Burgundy in the 1979 wine Olympics in Paris. Since, wine has been made by most on a Burgundian template and the highest compliment you can pay a wine maker is to remark of their similarity.  

You could make an adventure of it! Embarking on a tasting spree spanning the eighteen designations. None, would make a better pairing than the reddish-brown, white tipped Dungeness crab with a dab of butter, light chili aioli and a sweet compote on the side, a fresh Dungeness Crab grilled with most Oregon Pinot Noirs can make for a great relaxing  afternoon treat.