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January, 2020

Chardonnay glasses


You’ll find dozens of crab-friendly Chardonnays in Monterey County tasting rooms; the county leads the state in growing Chardonnay grapes. And don’t miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium on Monterey’s Cannery Row; it’s a visitor favorite.

The Pour

Which Wine?

White wine, please. That was easy. But now let’s drill down a bit in case you have options. White wines can be lean and sprightly or rich and creamy. The perfect choice depends on the crab preparation.

If the recipe relies on fresh herbs and lemon or lime juice, choose a leaner white wine such as California Sauvignon Blanc.

If the recipe includes butter and cream, open a richer white wine such as California Chardonnay.

If the recipe incorporates Asian seasonings (ginger, chilies, soy sauce, coconut milk), go with an aromatic white wine such as California Riesling.

For a little more pairing help, watch this: Two Chardonnays. Two somms. Two minutes

The Recipe

Dungeness Crab and Avocado Tostadas

Unlike the bean- and cheese-laden tostadas served in many restaurants, these are featherlight and heart-healthy. The salad-like topping helps stretch the costly crabmeat, and you’ll save money by buying a cooked crab and extracting the meat yourself. Packaged tostada shells come in a variety of sizes; use any size you like. From Wine Country Table: Recipes Celebrating California’s Sustainable Harvest by Janet Fletcher

Wine suggestion: California Chardonnay or California Sauvignon Blanc


  • 2⁄3 cup (130 g) finely diced tomato
  • 1⁄3 cup (40 g) finely minced green onion, white and
  • pale green part only
  • 1⁄4 cup (10 g) chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 serrano chile, finely minced
  • 2 large, ripe avocados
  • 2 limes, 1 halved, 1 quartered
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 8 corn tostada shells, about 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter
  • 1 head pale, crisp romaine lettuce, about 6 ounces (185 g), halved lengthwise, then very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1⁄2 pound (250 g) Dungeness crabmeat
  • 1⁄3 cup (75 g) crema (Mexican-style sour cream)
  • Mexican-style hot sauce or Tabasco sauce, for serving (optional)

Serves 4


In a large bowl, combine the tomato, green onion, chopped cilantro, garlic, and as much of the minced chile as you like. Halve and pit the avocados, then scoop the flesh from the skin and add to the bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1∕2 lime over the avocado. Using a fork, mash the avocado coarsely, incorporating the other ingredients in the bowl as you work. Season with salt and add more juice from the other 1∕2 lime as needed to achieve a guacamole with good flavor.

Top the tostada shells with the guacamole, dividing it evenly and spreading it to the edges. Top each tostada with the romaine and then with the crab, dividing them evenly. Drizzle each tostada with 2 teaspoons crema. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately with the lime wedges and with the hot sauce, if desired.

Wine Institute is an association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses from the beautiful and diverse wine regions throughout the state. Wine Institute works to create an environment where the wine community can flourish and contribute in a positive fashion to our nation, state and local communities. For information please contact

Certified sustainable producer Jordan Winery, owner of the Wine Country Table website and magazine, consents to Wine Institute’s use of its trademark for this book. Find food, wine, entertaining and travel tips at