Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Raeburn 2019 Russian River Chardonnay and Dungeness Crab Cakes

A package arrived this week. When I opened it, I found fresh Dungeness crab, a stick of local Sonoma organic butter and two bottles of Raeburn wine. Also included was a recipe for crab cakes. I had never made crab cakes before but followed the simple recipe and then paired the crab cakes with the 2019 Raeburn Russian River Chardonnay. Everything was so tasty and the pairing worked so well that Raeburn 2019 Russian River Chardonnay and Dungeness Crab Cakes is the Please The Palate pick of the week!

It is Dungeness crab season! The season starts in mid-November and crabbing will continue until June but now it the time for some of the best Dungeness crab from the Sonoma/Mendocino area!

Dungeness crab is the king on the West Coast and I love it for its firm and mild meat with a sweet and slightly nutty taste. And Dungeness crab makes great crab cakes!

Dave’s Favorite Maryland Crab Cake Recipe


  • 1 lbs. Crabmeat (backfin, jumbo lump, fresh or pasteurized)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups Fresh Bread Crumbs (from soft white sandwich bread)
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley (chopped)
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Lemon Wedges (for serving)

  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Combine the egg, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, Old Bay, salt, lemon juice, and parsley in a large bowl and mix well. Add the crab meat (be sure to check the meat for any hard and sharp cartilage) and breadcrumbs; gently folding mixture together until just combined, being careful not to shred the crab meat. Shape into 6 crab cakes (about 1/2 cup each) and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat a large nonstick pan to medium heat and coat with canola oil. When oil is hot, place crab cakes in pan and cook until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes per side). Be careful as oil may splatter.
  4. Serve immediately with tartar sauce or a squeeze of lemon.

Joe’s Mustard Sauce (The recipe is reprinted from Jo Ann Bass & Richard Sax’s “Eat At Joe’s: The Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant Cookbook”


  • 1 tbsp. Colman’s Dry Mustard
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp. A-1 Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Light Cream
  • Salt

Place the mustard in a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the mayonnaise and beat for 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire, A-1, cream, and a pinch of salt and beat until the mixture is well blended and creamy. If you’d like a little more mustardy bite, whisk in 1/2 teaspoon more dry mustard until well blended. Chill the sauce, covered, until serving.

Once the crab cakes were ready, I opened the 2019 Raeburn Russian River Chardonnay. Raeburn is a certified sustainable winery in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma. Owner Derek Benham started the winery in 2012 in honor of his mother Phyllis. The 2019 Chardonnay grapes were picked before the 2019 fires in Sonoma County. The grapes were whole cluster pressed and 75% was gentle racked into French and Hungarian oak barrels for fermentation. 25% of the juice was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The wines spent 6 months sur lie aging and then the two lots were blended and bottled. The 2019 Chardonnay has fresh citrus and apple aromas with vanilla undertones. On the palate, the wine is textured with lively, elegant acidity. I loved how the texture of the wine kept the wine from being overshadowed by the crab cakes. Instead the pairing was quite lovely, with the freshness and the brightness of the wine balancing the meatiness of the crab cakes.

With a few pieces of fresh Dungeness crab left over, I melted some of the organic Sonoma butter for dipping. The bright acidity of the wine cut through the rich oiliness of the butter for a lovely, balanced pairing.

The 2019 Raeburn Russian River Chardonnay retails for $19.99 and Dungeness crab season is here so try the pairing for yourself!