Elevate your seafood with the perfect complement of wine. From the sharp zest of a Pinot Grigio to the robustness of a Chardonnay, discover the best wines for pairing with shrimp scampi today.
When it comes to picking the best wine for shrimp scampi, the trick is not to overthink it. After all, in its most traditional form, shrimp scampi is a dish of tender shrimp cooked in olive oil, butter, white wine, and garlic. Fresh lemon juice is often used to impart subtle tartness and complement the shrimp. Each of these components is perfectly matched for a variety of refreshing white and even red wines.
Light-bodied, dry white wines such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Albariño are the best wines to pair with shrimp scampi. That’s because they possess the snappy acidity and refreshing flavor that perfectly balances the lemon and garlic flavors of the shrimp.
Shrimp scampi can be prepared in a variety of ways, either fried, served alone, or served on a bed of buttery noodles. Depending on how you’re enjoying your dish, one wine may be better suited for the dish. So, consider this your ultimate guide to choosing the best wines to pair with shrimp scampi!
How to Chose a Wine to Pair With Shrimp Scampi
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of which wines to pair with shrimp scampi, here are a few tips to consider:
- Think About The Sauce: Scampi sauce typically has white wine and lemon juice, making it naturally acidic. This means you should choose a wine that is more acidic than the sauce. Otherwise, the wine will appear dull in comparison.
- When In Doubt, Stay Local: Shrimp scampi is a traditional Italian recipe, so pairing this dish with crisp Italian white wines such as Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio is usually a safe bet.
- Match The Intensity: The intensity of the food should equal the intensity of the wine. If you’re serving shrimp scampi on a big bed of buttery noodles, choose a buttery, full-bodied Chardonnay. If you’re serving crispy fried shrimp scampi, pick a wine with more acidity and richness that can cut through the fatty flavors, like Prosecco.
- Use The Same Wine For Cooking And For Drinking: A common misconception is that you should pick a cheap wine to cook with and save the good stuff for drinking. You’ll notice the difference when you cook with a wine that’s good enough to drink!
Best White & Rosé Wines for Shrimp Scampi
Now that we’ve gone over the boring stuff let’s get to the good part. Here are the best white and rosé wines to pair with your next bowl of shrimp scampi:
Pinot Grigio is perhaps the most natural choice for pairing wine with shrimp scampi. That’s because it’s naturally acidic, has tons of fresh lemon flavor, and has a subtle mineral quality that perfectly balances the shrimp’s acidity and garlic flavor. Pinot Grigio is an Italian varietal, though it’s also found in France, where it is known as Pinot Gris.
Riesling is typically considered a sweet wine, but many of the best Rieslings in the world come in a variety of sweetness levels, ranging from dry to sweet. Dry Riesling, most commonly found in Germany or the United States, will have bright citrus, stonefruit, and honey flavors. It’s perfect for a more spicy shrimp scampi, as the subtle honey notes of the wine will soften the heat of red chilis.
Sauvignon Blanc is known for having bright citrus, green fruit, and grassy flavors, making it a fun and refreshing pairing choice for shrimp scampi, especially one with a ton of garlic flavor. The best examples of Sauvignon Blanc come from the Loire Valley of France, New Zealand, and California.
Albariño is a Spanish varietal known for having a ton of acidity and a pleasant lime or grapefruit flavor. Pairing your shrimp scampi with Albariño will not only balance out the acid but also add complexity with new, nuanced flavors.
Sparkling wine, especially Prosecco, is always a good choice, especially when it comes to food pairing. That’s because sparkling wine has tons of acidity and often a subtle sweetness laced throughout the palate. If you’re making fried shrimp scampi, or you like it spicy, you’ll definitely want to pair it with sparkling wine. We’re sticking with Prosecco specifically because it’s very affordable and comes with plenty of zippy lemon flavor.
Chardonnay is a surprisingly versatile wine. It’s typically known for being buttery and full-bodied, but in truth, it can be as light and zippy as a Pinot Grigio. For a light and refreshing Chardonnay, choose a Chablis from France. For a big, bold, and oaky Chardonnay best reserved for butter sauces, choose this barrel-aged California Chardonnay.
Rosé is a fun wine for pairing because it has the best of both worlds. It’s acidic and refreshing like white wine but has delicate red fruit aromas and flavors that only come close to red wine. Provençal Rosé, in particular, has more minerality than most rosés because of where it is grown along the Mediterranean coast of Southern France.
Best Red Wines for Shrimp Scampi
While shrimp scampi is usually best served with white or sparkling wines, there are some lighter-bodied red wines that can equally complement the bright flavors of shrimp scampi without being overpowering.
Here’s a list of the best red wines to pair with shrimp scampi.
Gamay Noir is the lightest red wine you’ll find, with minimal tannins and a snappy acidity reminiscent of a white or rosé wine. Flavors range from raspberry to bright cherry and fresh strawberries, making it a great choice for pairing with seafood. Most Gamay wines come from the Beaujolais region of France.
Second to Gamay in terms of its light body is Pinot Noir. Pinot is a delightfully versatile wine that pairs well with all sorts of dishes, especially seafood. With bright summertime red fruit flavors, subtle earthiness, and soft tannins, it’s a great wine to enhance a plate of shrimp scampi, especially if there’s a red component such as peppers or tomato. Pinot Noir is grown worldwide, though the best examples come from France, the United States, Chile, and New Zealand.