Cooking to the Wine: Longevity Pinot Grigio with Crab Cakes (#WinePW)

We have a love story in honor of Valentine's Day, paired with a delicious Pinot Grigio from Longevity Wines and Crab Cakes.

The wine included in today's post was provided as a sample. Please note that all opinions are my own and no other compensation was received. 


Happy Valentine’s Day!

To celebrate, today we have a love story. Longevity Wines’ story can’t help but pull at your heartstrings. But beware –it’s a tearjerker.   

Phil and Debra Long opened Longevity Wines together in 2008. Neither had a background in wine but fell in love with it after moving to the Bay Area from Southern California. They began experimenting with making their own in their garage in Livermore in 2003, and eventually, their hobby outgrew the space and became a full-time business. 

Debra came up with the name ‘Longevity’ as a play on their last name, as well as their love for each other. The intricate heart-shaped design Phil created for their logo was inspired by Debra’s love of hearts –– Phil would buy her an artisan glass heart every Valentine’s Day. Within the heart design, there are more hearts entwined with grapes and vines.

Image borrowed from Longevity’s website.

Unfortunately, just as Longevity was taking off, Debra was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2016. She passed away in 2019, just a few days after it was announced that Longevity had won 2018 Livermore Valley Winery of the Year. She continues to be a major inspiration behind the winery. 

Today, Phil continues to run the urban winery with his son and assistant winemaker, Phil Long Jr. The brand has continued to grow and expand, partly through a  partnership with Bronco Wine Company that has allowed for their California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines to be available on a much wider scale. 

Phil also has been the president of the not-for-profit Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) as of January 1, 2020. For more on his role, as well as the expansion of the brand, check out this interview with Phil by Kat Réne of The Corkscrew Concierge for The Vintner Project.


Longevity’s Pinot Grigio ($26) is a skin-contact style, so it’s a pretty copper pink color – yet another reason it’s a perfect choice for a romantic evening like Valentine’s Day.  (In Italy this style is referred to as “ramato” – you can find out more about the style here.) 

On the day we opened the bottle, pretty aromas of peaches and orange blossoms greeted us on the nose. On the palate, the wine was fruit-forward with lots of tropical and stone fruit flavors like peaches, apricots, and melons, as well as gold apples. The fruit is balanced with notes of ginger, as well as a light undercurrent of savory, umami notes, white pepper, and a pinch of baking spice. All of that fruit gave this wine a luscious quality, but it had enough zing to keep it vibrant. This seemed like a joyful wine to me – like a warm, late-afternoon, spring breeze.

Longevity’s website shares several delicious-looking recipes to pair with their wines, including one for Low Country Crab Cakes with She Crab Sauce & Lemon Aioli meant to pair with their Pinot Grigio. That sounded fantastic, but I thought I would take their recipe and adapt it just a bit for another spin. All the ripe fruit notes in this wine, mixed with the hints of ginger and light umami made me think this wine would work well with Asian flavors, even a bit of spice.

I gave everything just a little twist to incorporate those flavors. I thought plum sauce would work well the stone fruit notes, but I didn’t want the sauce to be so sweet that it would compete with the wine, so I mixed mayo, a bit of soy sauce, and a hint of sriracha to create a dipping sauce for the crab cakes. In addition, I roasted some acorn squash to serve alongside and flavored it with Chinese Five Spice and chili powder.

The crab cakes with the spicy mayo paired beautifully, bringing out a bit more of the wine’s savory side. The acorn squash also made a solid match, and the flavor of the Five Spice worked well, although the heat of the chili powder challenged the wine a bit, so I would recommend keeping it to just a light pinch. 


The winery also recommends this wine with “fresh cheeses, roast turkey, seafood, or sushi.” I can also see this working nicely with duck, Indian and Thai food as well. This wine is also lovely on its own. 

Find additional details on the wine here.




The rest of the Wine Pairing Weekend Blogging Group is exploring wines from black winemakers in honor of Black History Month. Check out the rest of their posts here:

Additional sources used for this post and extra reading:



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