10 Best Shrimp Scampi and Wine Pairings [Essential Bottles]
A rich shrimp scampi dish needs a particular wine. Thankfully, there's a lot of choice when it comes to the requisite flavor profile. We recommend the perfect bottles of wine for shrimp scampi.
Shrimp scampi is the perfect weeknight meal with a glass of wine. In just ten minutes, you can whip up a simple combination of Norway Lobster (also known as the Dublin Bay prawn) served in garlic butter and white wine sauce.
However, we implore you to pick a wine according to your recipe due to the delicately balanced flavors of garlic and butter.
Shrimp scampi's buttery goodness is easily stripped by highly acidic wines, calling for a low acidity wine like Pinot Gris.
You can offset this with more butter, letting you play with acidic wines like Sauvignon Blanc for a crisp, refreshing combo.
In this guide, we reveal the best shrimp scampi and wine pairings that we've tried here at Wine Turtle.
Wine Pairing Guide for Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp is subtly fishy, yet the recipe for shrimp scampi douses it in butter, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper (with a splash of white wine if desired).
The garlic and butter sauce should overpower the shrimp on paper, but the flavors combine miraculously, creating a delicious, juicy dish. A little sweet and a little salty, it makes no wonder it's one of the most popular seafood dishes.
Shrimp scampi is also a fantastic dish to enjoy with wine, and the perfect wine pairings are easygoing with something for every taste.
We love an acidic Sauvignon Blanc or Soave with dishes heavy on the butter, moderately acidic wines like Chardonnay when dishes have more oil, and fruity wines like Riesling when the dish has lots of salt and pepper or a sprinkling of parmesan.
More white wines than reds go with shrimp scampi because reds contain many tannins, which overpower the prawns.
An exception is Rioja, which does not overpower the butter, garlic, or prawns because it is light and fruity with a smooth, delicate mouthfeel.
Of course, you could throw caution to the wind and go with whatever wine you enjoy, but in our experience, pairing wine with scampi is otherworldly.
Best Wine to Pair with Shrimp Scampi
These are our favorite wines to pair with shrimp scampi. There's a great variety on offer, from those with sharp acidity to those with tingly bubbles.
When shrimp scampi is heavy on butter and oil, you can't go wrong with Sauvignon Blanc. This highly acidic wine has green herbal flavors with twists of lime, apple, passion fruit, and gooseberry for a tart taste.
Sauvignon Blanc is distinctly acidic and goes great with other types of seafood served in rich sauces, with less acidic wines better for lighter dishes.
Another reason Sauvignon Blanc goes great with shrimp scampi is the acidity cancels out the dish's saltiness, creating a balanced flavor profile. Pair your dish with a green leaf salad for a fresh, vibrant meal any time of the week.
Our Recommendation: The Lavis Classic Sauvignon Trentino DOC 2021 (pictured) is beautifully crisp and acidic, primed to cut through that rich sauce and enhance your meal.
If you're stuck on the wine menu, a dry, unoaked Chardonnay is an easy choice for shrimp scampi. The dryness and medium acidity bring balance to butter and garlic sauce, and the subtle, tropical flavors are incredibly moreish.
Chardonnay is unique because it has a buttery flavor that blends perfectly with buttery sauces. Early-season varieties are best, with tropical flavors like pineapple and guava, while late-season wines have an apple flavor.
However, you should avoid oaked Chardonnay with shrimp scampi because it has vanilla notes that can spoil the garlicky taste.
Our Recommendation: The Seaglass 2020 (pictured) is an easy drinking, great value Chardonnay from Sant Barbara, that pairs really well with rich food.
Shrimp scampi heavy on seasoning and spices goes beautifully with the fresh, spicy profile of Pinot Gris. Notes of sweet spices like ginger and clove and flavors of stone fruit and apple give Pino Gris a complex profile.
Pinot Gris has relatively low acidity and is full-bodied, with a luscious mouthfeel perfect for thick, juicy prawns. It's approachable, drier, and crisper than other white wines like Pinot Grigio (which does not pair well with seafood).
The finest Pinot Gris comes from the French region of Alsace, but you can also find excellent varieties from California, Australia, and New Zealand.
Our Recommendation: With a refreshing aroma of pineapple, The 2018 Four Graces from Willamette Valley (pictured) is well equipped to accompany rich dishes like shrimp scampi. Melon and apple flavors with long lasting acidity make it a memorable Pinot Gris.
Chenin Blanc is an interesting white wine because it is light-bodied and moderately acidic, yet it has a similar flavor profile to Sauvignon Blanc, which is highly acidic.
Flavors of tart pear, quince, and honey, with undertones of blackcurrant, give oil-heavy shrimp scampi dishes a massive lift. It has a mineral character, with spice and floral aromas, and a buttery, smooth finish.
We recommend a fresh, zingy wine variety for shrimp scampi. French wines are the best, but you can get some fantastic wines from South Africa, Australia, and the US. Wines from the central Loire Valley of France are highly prized.
Our Recommendation: The Domaine Champalou Vouvray Brut NV (pictured) is a Chenin Blanc of distinction. Made using traditional methods, fresh citrus notes enhance rich fish dishes wonderfully.
The citrusy grapefruit flavors of Vermentino bring shrimp scampi to life, with a snappy finish bringing minerality to the garlic. It's on the ripe side, with notes of almond and a tropical nose with hints of lime and pear.
Vermentino is grown on the island of Sardinia, Italy, with other plantations in Liguria and Corsica. It's one of Italy's most popular wines with seafood and cheese, especially with appetizers and as an aperitif.
For the perfect shrimp scampi pairing, look for late-harvested or mature Vermentino, which has bolder flavors and a long finish.
Our Recommendation: If ever there was a wine made for fish or shrimp, the 2016 Capichera Vermentino (Isola dei Nuraghi IGT), from Sardinia, Italy (pictured) could be it. Crisp, dry, and refreshing with hints of pineapple and lime, it's bold and long lasting.
Champagne and seafood are a popular combination because of Champagne's crispness and refreshing bubbles. Dry Champagne is especially good with shrimp scampi because it cuts through the oil and butter, leaving behind a delicious fish and garlic taste.
The flavor profile of dry Champagne leans toward almond, cream, toast, and peach, with an underlying ripe apple fruitiness and subtle minerality.
However, avoid brut and extremely dry varieties – these can alter the shrimp's flavor badly. You want a dry variety (12-17 g/L of residual sugar) so that there is some residual sweetness to compliment the salty sauce.
Our Recommendation: The Laurent Lequart Brut Nature Blanc de Meunier (pictured) is a fruity, crisp, and acidic Champagne that partners shrimp scampi beautifully.
Rioja is a mellow, delicate red high in tannins with fruity, jam-like flavors. It's very approachable, making it perfect for wine beginners, and the juicy fruitiness pairs with notes of vanilla and tobacco for a complex profile.
The best pairing for shrimp scampi is a newer vintage with a medium body – older vintages are full-bodied and can be too rich for shrimp.
Rioja is a Spanish wine traditionally served with Paella and grilled fish, so it has abundant heritage. The fruity profile lends itself to shrimp scampi heavy on the seasoning, perhaps with a sprinkling of salty cheese like Manchego.
Our Recommendation: A medium body, acidic Rioja is a wonderful pair for fish and shrimp. Our "go to" bottle for shrimp scampi is the La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva 2015 (pictured above).
Soave is a dry Italian white wine perfect for shrimp scampi heavy on butter. It comes from the most famous white wine DOC in Italy, with flavors of peach, honeydew, citrus, and marjoram with a subtle minerality.
We adore wines produced with Soave from the flat lands of the region, with grapes grown in the volcanic region being tarter and saltier.
This smooth, crisp white wine goes down a treat, cutting through butter and garlic without destroying the richness. Vegetal notes compliment the fishy shrimp and build a complex, herbal layer into basic seasonings.
Our Recommendation: The 2017 Roccolo Grassi La Broia Soave (pictured) is a fresh and acidic wine that has green apple running through it. It cuts through rich food with ease and is wonderfully refreshing.
Pinot Blanc is a semi-dry white wine from Burgundy, France. It is often compared to Chardonnay, but Pinot Blanc is more acidic with mildly spicy notes, making it a match for shrimp scampi dishes finished with lemon.
You can get Pinot Blanc with a medium or full body – a medium body is the best pairing to let the rich, buttery sauce shine through.
A good Pinot Blanc has notes of pear, apple, honeysuckle, citrus, and smoke when oaked, with almond on the nose. Fresh flower aromas are not uncommon in early vintages, with older vintages having a salty undertone.
Our Recommendation: The Terlan Pinot Bianco Riserva Vorberg (pictured) has melon and honeysuckle on the nose and fresh apple on the tongue. A beautiful wine that's great with fish and shrimp
Riesling is made in multiple varieties, from sweet dessert wines to dry wines. For shrimp scampi, you want a dry Riesling – these are intensely ripe, with lemon, lime, orange blossom, and honey flavors, with aromas of lime and melon.
The beauty of dry Riesling is that it is tart and light-bodied, letting you enjoy the shrimp's pure taste and the buttery-garlic sauce's richness.
Many of the world's finest restaurants recommend dry Riesling with seafood because it lets the food shine. The floral bouquet brings steaming scampi shrimp to life, taking away much of the unwanted pungency of the garlic and spices.
Our Recommendation: The 2018 Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling (pictured) is a real gem! Crisp, fruity, light, balanced, and clean, it's a match made in heaven for dishes with rich sauces.