With a wide array of wine varieties on the store shelves, you can choose a good bottle for any dinner. But, a vast choice gives rise to confusion: how to find a perfect match? The good news is that the wine pairing process doesn’t have to be complicated. 

This post will cover the basic rules for pairing shrimp scampi dishes and wine to elevate your dining experience. We will also share 6 food and wine pairing examples that won’t leave you indifferent.

So, get into our shrimp scampi and wine pairing guide and start matching dishes and drinks like a pro.

Person eating shrimp from a black dish with a salad and a glass of red wine

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What’s special about shrimp scampi?

Initially originated in Italy, the shrimp scampi dish moved to the US with Italian-American immigrants who brought their recipes. In Italian, the word “scampi” stands for Dublin bay prawn — a sea crustacean from the lobster family. Since there were no scampi in the US in the late 19th-early 20th century, Italian immigrants had to adjust their recipe. That’s how “shrimp prepared scampi-style,” subsequently shortened to “shrimp scampi,” appeared.

What we know as shrimp scampi today is a juicy seafood dish made of shrimp, garlic, butter, white wine, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Combining these ingredients results in a dish that’s both flavorful and light. The white wine and garlic give it a subtle sweetness, while the butter adds richness and depth of flavor. What’s essential, neither the butter sauce nor garlic overpowers the shrimp flavors. So, the dish is inherently balanced.

Olive oil, butter, pepper, and salt also contribute to the delicious taste of shrimp scampi. Parsley used as a garnish can give a dish a hint of freshness and color. 

What makes shrimp scampi unique is its incredible versatility. You can serve shrimp scampi as an appetizer and a main course meal. The possible accompaniments are also diverse — noodles, rice, gnocchi, and much more. 

Just like shrimp scampi’s recipe can adapt to regional settings, the dish can adapt to different wine styles. Read on to see how it works.

4 tips on pairing shrimp scampi with wine

When it comes to food and wine pairing, Shrimp scampi is a nice meal to enjoy with a glass of wine. Here comes the question: how to pick the best bottle for this dish? When pairing wine with shrimp scampi, there are a few things to consider. 

#1 Consider the regional origin

First, consider the dish’s regional origin. As an American-Italian dish, shrimp scampi goes well with American and Italian wines. We’ll further cover the best shrimp scampi wine pairing options, so keep reading.

#2 Choose the wine based on the shrimp scampi dish weight

Secondly, just like when pairing wine with pasta dishes the weight of the dish matters. Depending on the intensity of your shrimp scampi dish, you can choose from light to medium-bodied wine to complement your dinner. Matching the dish and wine by weight will help you balance out the flavors and textures in your meal and make for an overall more enjoyable experience.

#3 Match the wine with the dish’s flavors 

Next, think about how the acidity in the wine and the dish’s flavors will interact. High-acid wines can destroy the buttery goodness of shrimp scampi. Adding more butter to the dish can help you offset that unwanted effect and opt for a more acidic wine like Sauvignon Blanc.

If you’re serving your shrimp scampi with a side of garlic bread or sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, you can’t go wrong with a rich, buttery Chardonnay. The creamy texture and subtle oak notes in this wine will complement the dish perfectly, making it an excellent choice for Chardonnay and cheese pairings.

When cooking shrimp scampi with more oil, pick dry wine with medium acidity, like Chardonnay. If your shrimp scampi tastes salty or peppery or contains a pinch of Parmesan cheese, Riesling might be a perfect wine pairing.

#4 Take into account the weather outside

Finally, you should also consider the weather outside. Shrimp scampi dishes enjoyed outside would require light and refreshing white wine on hot summer days.

Plated shrimp dish

Photo by Durenne Loris on Unsplash

Does shrimp scampi pair well with red wines?

While crisp white wines are generally the best for shrimp scampi, you can also pair red wine with this dish. Still, there are certain considerations to keep in mind.

As you probably know, red wines are more tannic than their white counterparts. Tannins are the astringent compounds found in red wines that can leave your mouth feeling dry and your cheeks flushed. Tannins may outpower the amazing flavors of shrimp scampi, and it’s not exactly what you want if you’re trying to enjoy this delicious meal. So, choosing a light-bodied red wine with lower tannin content is best.

Pinot Noir, Rioja, and Beaujolais Nouveau are excellent red wines to pair with shrimp scampi.

What about cooking wine for shrimp scampi?

Many shrimp scampi recipes have wine as one of the ingredients. When choosing the right wine for cooking, opt for the variety that would be pleasant to drink with this dish. 

Most likely, this will be a dry white wine. Dry white wines have a higher acidity level, which makes them the perfect choice for cooking with seafood. Avoid sweet wines, as their sweetness can overpower the delicate flavors of the shrimp.

Consider the flavors and intensity of your future dish and select the best matching wine variety. A couple of tablespoons of Sauvignon Blanc will perfectly complement the Shrimp scampi dish seasoned with herbal ingredients.

The best wine with shrimp scampi: Top 9 wine varieties

Pairing the perfect wine with a delicious plate of shrimp scampi can be a daunting task. But, with some guidance and tips, you can easily find the best wine to enjoy with this seafood favorite. From wines with crisp acidity to full-bodied wine varieties with an oaky flavor, there’s something for anyone.

Now that you know what to look for in a wine to pair with shrimp scampi, let’s get into the Mill Keeper’s shrimp scampi wine pairing selection.

Two people enjoying their dinners with glasses of red wine

Photo by Farhad Ibrahimzade on Unsplash

#1 Pinot Gris

Shrimp scampi Pinot Grigio wine pairing can be a perfect match for a heavily-seasoned dish. Pinot Grigio is a light-bodied white wine that pairs well with seafood dishes like shrimp scampi. This wine is notable for its crisp acidity, clove and ginger flavors, and subtle notes of apple and pear. Lemon zest and citrus notes displayed in Pinot Grigio help balance out the buttery structure of the shrimp scampi dish.

Overall, the flavor profile of Pinot Gris makes this wine an ideal companion to the garlic and butter in shrimp scampi. 

#2 Pinot Blanc

Pinot Blanc is another excellent choice for pairing with shrimp scampi. This semi-dry white wine has a light and refreshing taste, with primary flavors of tropical fruit and stone fruit that complement the savory flavors of shrimp scampi. Its subtle floral and citrus notes help balance the garlic scent and richness of the dish. 

With its bright and crisp finish, Pinot Blanc is among the perfect companions for your shrimp scampi dinner.

#3 Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a light and crisp white wine with grass, grapefruit, or tropical scent. Its bright and vibrant flavor complements the delicate taste of shrimp scampi perfectly. 

Sauvignon Blanc is the best wine with shrimp scampi whenever the dish is rich in oil and butter content. The acidity in the wine helps balance out the richness of the butter sauce, while its herbal flavors add complexity to the dish. The light body and crisp finish make Sauvignon Blanc great white wine for shrimp scampi.

#4 Chardonnay

Thinking of pairing your shrimp scampi meal with Chardonnay? You might be wondering which Chardonnay style to stick with — unoaked, which is light and refreshing, or oaked, which is full-bodied and buttery. The truth is that both styles can make the best wine for shrimp scampi. 

What’s great about unoaked Chardonnay? It’s dry and mildly acidic, which provides balance to the garlic butter sauce. Plus, the wine’s subtle tropical flavors will add to the overall deliciousness of your shrimp scampi wine pairing. 

Medium to full-bodied versions of Chardonnay also pair nicely with shrimp scampi’s richness. Chardonnay’s rich flavor with notes of apple, pear, and butterscotch works well with the dish’s delicate taste. At the same time, the buttery finish adds an extra layer of complexity to your meal. 

When picking out a Chardonnay, make sure it isn’t too oaky — that flavor might overpower the subtle garlic taste of your shrimp scampi.

Chardonnays have much to offer if you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to elevate your next shrimp scampi dinner.

#5 Chenin Blanc

Being a versatile wine variety, Chenin Blanx pairs with many dishes. Shrimp scampi is no exception. 

Chenin Blanc is a light and refreshing white wine with notes of lemon and green apple. This wine pairs wonderfully with the subtle flavors of shrimp scampi. Chenin Blanc’s moderate acidity can handle rich dishes. At the same time, its floral notes bring out the subtle taste of seafood.

#6 Riesling

Riesling is a chameleon wine that comes in different styles — from dry to sweet. The refreshing acidity and citrusy flavors of dry Riesling help to cut through the richness of the shrimp scampi dish. At the same time, this wine pairing ensures balance that doesn’t overpower any flavors or textures.

How about sweet Riesling? With such wine pairing, shrimp scampi will display garlic flavors more vividly. Fans of garlicky foods will appreciate such a combination.

Overall, with its subtle notes of citrus, floral aromas, and mineral undertones, Riesling can be the perfect accompaniment to your next shrimp scampi dinner.

#7 Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a light-bodied red wine with notes of cherry and raspberry. It pairs nicely with shrimp scampi’s richness.

Pinot Noir is an excellent choice of wine to pair with shrimp scampi. The sweet, soft, and fruity flavors of the wine complement the savory flavors in the shrimp scampi. It’s also light enough that it doesn’t overpower the dish but still has enough body to stand up to the bold flavors in the sauce. The high acidity levels of Pinot Noir also help cut through any fat or oiliness from the dish. 

So, Pinot Noir is one of the best wines for pairing with shrimp scampi and is sure to be a winner at your next dinner party.

#8 Rioja

Rioja is a medium-bodied red wine rich in tannins. This high-acid wine is notable for its jammy flavors like plum and blackberry. When oaked, it also displays notes of tobacco and vanilla.

When it comes to pairing Rioja wines with shrimp scampi, red Rioja is often the choice of many connoisseurs. This rich and lush wine variety has everything from intense fruit flavors to notes of warm spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Rioja seems to be an ideal match for richly flavored shrimp scampi preparations.

#9 Beaujolais Nouveau

Last but not least, Beaujolais Nouveau can perfectly complement your shrimp scampi experience. Beaujolais Nouveau is a light-bodied wine with a fresh and fruity aroma. It is made from Gamay grapes, known for their aromatic qualities. 

Due to its ability to complement the natural sweetness of seafood and shellfish dishes, Beaujolais Nouveau pairs with shrimp scampi perfectly. The notes of cherry, raspberry, and spice in this white wine complement the freshness of the shrimp in a truly unique way. It is also low in tannins and acidity, making it a great accompaniment to shrimp scampi and other seafood.

Cold glass of Rosé next to a silver basket of fried shrimp and dip

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Bottom line

Shrimp scampi is a delicious seafood dish that is both light and flavorful. When pairing wines with shrimp scampi, whites are generally the best choice. Still, select light-bodied reds can also make a perfect pairing with shrimp scampi. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide on pairing shrimp scampi with wine as much as we enjoyed writing it for you. With the tips and pairings we’ve shared, you’ll surely pick the perfect wine pairing for shrimp scampi. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just cooking for yourself, the wines mentioned in our guide will bring out the best in your shrimp scampi dish.