November 21, 2023

Best wine with shrimp scampi

Top Picks: The Best Wine for Shrimp Scampi Pairings

Imagine enjoying a plate of delicious shrimp scampi, with its rich garlic butter sauce and succulent shrimp, perfectly paired with a glass of the best wine for shrimp scampi that enhances every bite. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Let us guide you on a delectable journey to discover the best wine pairings for this dish that will elevate your dining experience.

Understanding Shrimp Scampi

A plate of delicious shrimp scampi with pasta and a glass of white wine

Shrimp scampi is a delightful Italian-American dish featuring shrimp cooked in a luscious garlic, butter, and white wine sauce, often served with pasta. This popular dish has its roots in Italy, brought to the US by Italian-American immigrants, making it a classic favorite in both countries. The key flavors of classic shrimp scampi come from the white wine and garlic, providing a slight sweetness, while the butter adds richness, creating a mouthwatering garlic butter sauce. To serve shrimp scampi, simply plate it over pasta or with a side of crusty bread for a delicious meal.

The right wine pairing for shrimp scampi can enhance the flavors of the dish, making it even more enjoyable. While white wines are usually the go-to choice for this dish, some light-bodied red wines can also offer a unique and tasty experience. The best wine for shrimp scampi complements the dish’s rich and savory profile, balancing the flavors and creating a harmonious dining experience.

In the US, shrimp scampi is often served with:

  • noodles
  • gnocchi
  • rice
  • toasted garlic bread

Shrimp scampi pasta is a particularly popular variation. The versatile nature of this dish allows for various wine pairings and accompaniments, making it a fantastic option for those looking to explore new flavors and combinations.

Factors to Consider for Wine Pairing

Selecting the perfect wine to pair with shrimp scampi requires consideration of several factors. One of the most important factors is the dish’s weight, as a light and bright white wine like Sauvignon Blanc can perfectly complement an easy shrimp scampi recipe. The acidity of the wine is another crucial factor, as it helps to balance out the richness of the dish.

For those feeling adventurous, lighter-bodied, fruit-forward red wines can make a great match for seafood dishes with secondary characteristics to emphasize, such as red pepper flakes in shrimp scampi. A hot summer day might call for a light and refreshing white wine to pair with a garlic butter shrimp scampi dish. Taking into account the dish’s weight, regional origin, flavor profile, and even the weather, will lead to a harmonious and enjoyable shrimp scampi and wine pairing experience.

Top White Wines for Shrimp Scampi

A bottle and glass of Sauvignon Blanc, perfect for pairing with shrimp scampi

White wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Albariño are excellent choices for shrimp scampi due to their acidity, fruitiness, and ability to balance the dish’s rich flavors. Sauvignon Blanc, with its high acidity and herbal flavors, is the perfect match for shrimp scampi’s buttery sauce, thanks to its light body and crisp finish. Pinot Grigio is another great choice, with its light-bodied, refreshing acidity and subtle floral and citrus notes that balance out the dish’s richness.

Chardonnay is an excellent choice for shrimp scampi because of its acidity, fruitiness, and capacity to balance the dish’s rich flavors, with its buttery notes complementing the buttery scampi sauce. Albariño, a light-bodied white wine with crisp acidity and notes of citrus, stone fruit, and herbs, also makes a great match for the dish, especially when using chicken broth as a base for the sauce. Choosing the right white wine enhances the flavors of shrimp scampi, crafting a memorable dining experience.

Light Red Wines That Work with Shrimp Scampi

A glass of light-bodied Pinot Noir, a great choice for pairing with shrimp scampi

For those who prefer red wines, light-bodied options with low tannins can also work with shrimp scampi, offering a unique and flavorful experience. Pinot Noir, with its light body and delicate flavor profile, makes a great match for the rich scampi sauce in shrimp scampi dishes. Its fruity and earthy notes can complement the dish without overpowering its flavors.

Other light red wines, such as Rioja and Beaujolais Nouveau, can also be paired with shrimp scampi. The sweetness of Beaujolais Nouveau complements the natural sweetness of seafood, while its acidity and citrusy notes pair nicely with the briny flavors of shrimp scampi. Considering light red wines can help craft a unique and enjoyable shrimp scampi wine pairing, catering to various tastes and preferences.

Cooking Wine Recommendations

A selection of dry white wines suitable for cooking shrimp scampi

Choosing a cooking wine for shrimp scampi requires the selection of a dry white wine with high acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris. These wines not only enhance the flavors of the dish but also help to balance its richness. Avoid overly sweet or oaky wines when cooking shrimp scampi, as these may overpower the dish’s flavors.

It’s also important to steer clear of cooking wines found in grocery stores, as they often have an unpleasant vinegar-like taste that can negatively impact the dish. Instead, opt for quality wines that you would enjoy drinking, ensuring a delicious and flavorful shrimp scampi.

Selecting the right cooking wine and adding a splash of lemon juice elevates your shrimp scampi, resulting in a delectable dish that impresses guests and satisfies the taste buds.

Serving Suggestions for Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi can be served with a wide variety of accompaniments, allowing you to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal tailored to your preferences. Some options include:

  • Pasta: Shrimp scampi pasta is a popular variation of the dish.
  • Risotto: The creamy texture of risotto pairs well with the shrimp scampi.
  • Bread: Serve the shrimp scampi over crusty bread for a delicious combination.
  • Salads: A fresh salad can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of the shrimp scampi.
  • Vegetables: Roasted or steamed vegetables can add a healthy element to the dish.

Each of these options offers a different texture and flavor profile to complement the shrimp scampi.

Creamy risotto, such as Parmesan risotto, makes an excellent accompaniment for shrimp scampi, adding a luxurious touch to the meal. For a more casual option, garlic bread, French bread rolls, or a crusty baguette can be served alongside the dish, providing a contrasting texture and a means to soak up the delicious scampi sauce.

Vegetable dishes, like lemon roasted asparagus, zucchini noodles, or roasted Brussels sprouts, can also be served with shrimp scampi, adding a burst of freshness and color to the plate. Considering various serving suggestions enables the creation of a delicious meal, highlighting the best flavors of shrimp scampi and ensuring everyone at the table is satisfied.

Tips for Enhancing Your Shrimp Scampi Experience

Elevating your shrimp scampi experience begins with the use of quality ingredients, such as fresh jumbo shrimp and high-quality olive oil. Selecting the right cooking equipment is also essential, with a skillet or sauté pan being the ideal choice for preparing the dish.

Some expert tips for making the best shrimp scampi include:

  • Using a mincing tool to bring out the flavors of garlic
  • Using a pasta-making tool, like a KitchenAid attachment, for a truly homemade touch
  • Choosing the perfect wine pairing, taking into account the factors discussed earlier in this blog post
  • Considering serving the dish with complementary accompaniments

Following these tips and suggestions sets the path toward creating the ultimate shrimp scampi experience, impressing guests and providing a delightful culinary adventure for your taste buds.


In conclusion, finding the perfect wine pairing for shrimp scampi can elevate the dish to new heights, enhancing its rich flavors and creating a memorable dining experience. By considering factors such as the dish’s weight, regional origin, and flavor profile, and exploring both white and light red wine options, you can create a harmonious and enjoyable pairing. Don’t forget to choose the right cooking wine, follow expert tips for preparing and serving the dish, and experiment with various accompaniments to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal. Now it’s time to pour yourself a glass of wine, dig into a plate of delicious shrimp scampi, and savor the perfect pairing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best wine to use for shrimp scampi?

For a perfect shrimp scampi, reach for a dry, crisp white wine such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or unoaked Chardonnay. Enjoy your meal with the leftover wine!

What is a good wine to drink with shrimp?

For a delicious pairing, try Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Grüner Veltliner, or Viognier to bring out the sweetness of shrimp. These wines add bright acidity and minerality that won’t overpower the dish.

What Pinot Grigio is best for cooking shrimp?

For cooking shrimp, Pinot Grigio is the perfect white wine for its bright and citrusy flavors. Try Donini Pinot Grigio or Ziobaffa Organic Pinot Grigio to elevate your seafood dish.

What wine is best for seafood rice?

For seafood rice, a Quality Rosé is the best way to go – it complements all the flavours present. Alternatively, a good Quality Sparkling could work well too.

What are the key flavors of shrimp scampi?

Shrimp scampi is a delicious mix of garlic butter, white wine and butter for a savory yet slightly sweet flavor.

About the author 

Karina Kahale

I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. After years of travel, exploration, and education, I founded Underground Wine Merchants in 2019.

Currently, I work as a sommelier at a fine dining restaurant here in Hawaii. I pursued my education at the prestigious ICE Sommelier Institute in Los Angeles, which has equipped me with the knowledge and skills to excel in my profession.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}