What Kind of Wine Goes Best with Shrimp Scampi? Your Complete Guide

The store has a lot of different kinds of wine, so you can find a good bottle for any meal. But having so many options can be hard to figure out how to find the best match. The good news is that matching wines doesn’t have to be hard.

This post will go over the basics of how to pair shrimp scampi dishes with wine to make your meal more enjoyable. We will also share 6 food and wine pairing examples that won’t leave you indifferent.

So read our shrimp scampi and wine pairing guide to learn how to pair food and drinks like a pro.

Shrimp scampi is a classic Italian-American dish that is simple, delicious, and paired perfectly with white wine. With garlic, butter, olive oil and tons of flavor, shrimp scampi is rich and indulgent. Finding the right wine to go with this dish can elevate the flavors and make for an amazing overall dining experience But with so many different types of white wine out there, it can be tricky to choose the right varietal and bottle that complements shrimp scampi best

In this complete guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about pairing wine with shrimp scampi. We’ll go over the basic rules of pairing wine with seafood discuss the flavors and elements of shrimp scampi that matter most, and recommend specific varietals and wines that are sure to impress.

An Overview of Shrimp Scampi

Before we get into wine, let’s quickly go over what shrimp scampi is and what makes it so delicious Authentic shrimp scampi originated in Italy, where “scampi” refers to a specific type of lobster-like crustacean called the Dublin Bay prawn Italian immigrants to America substituted regular shrimp when Dublin Bay prawns were unavailable, leading to the classic Italian-American dish we know today.

The beauty of shrimp scampi is that it combines simple, quality ingredients like shrimp, garlic, butter or olive oil, white wine, lemon juice, parsley and pepper into something truly mouthwatering. When cooked properly, the shrimp is tender and succulent, soaked in a creamy, garlicky sauce that also adds a touch of brightness from the white wine and lemon.

It’s a dish that celebrates the natural sweetness of the shrimp rather than covering it up. The supporting ingredients serve to accentuate, not overwhelm the star of the plate.

Now let’s discuss how to take this seafood favorite to the next level with wine pairing.

General Tips for Pairing Wine with Seafood

Before we get into specifics, we’ll start with some broad guidelines on pairing wine with seafood in general:

  • White wine is almost always the way to go. Seafood is delicate in flavor and texture. Bold red wines tend to overpower lighter seafood. White wines emphasize and uplift the natural sweetness of the shrimp.

  • Lighter-bodied, crisp whites pair best. Seafood calls for wines that are light on the palate. Crisp, bright acids keep the pairing refreshing. Stay away from oaky or buttery whites that can coat the palate.

  • Consider the cooking method. Grilled seafood can handle more robust wines like Chardonnay. Delicate poached or steamed seafood calls for lighter white wines.

  • Don’t overlook sparkling wines. Bubbles and seafood are a classic combination. The effervescence scrubs the palate clean with each sip.

  • Match weights. Delicate seafood matches best with delicate wines. Richer seafood dishes can be paired with fuller-bodied whites.

  • Think about seasoning and sauces. Garlic, herbs and browned butter suit richer wines like Chardonnay. Citrus-accented and broth-based seafood pair better with brighter Sauvignon Blancs.

Now that we understand the fundamentals, let’s see how these guidelines apply to our wine options with shrimp scampi.

Factors to Consider with Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi is delicate, garlicky, rich and bright all at the same time. To narrow our wine options down, let’s examine a few factors that matter most when pairing wine with shrimp scampi specifically:

The star is the shrimp. The shrimp itself is mild, sweet and delicate in flavor. The wine should complement, not conceal the seafood.

It relies on butter/oil for richness. The sauce is rich and indulgent from the addition of butter or olive oil. The wine needs enough weight to match.

Garlic is central to the flavor. The abundance of garlic makes this dish distinctly savory and aromatic. The wine should enhance these flavors.

There is brightness from lemon and white wine. Tart lemon juice and acidic white wine cut through the richness. The wine should also offer lively acidity.

The sauce is thin, not thick. Unlike a cream sauce, shrimp scampi has a brothy, light sauce that coats, doesn’t smother. The wine texture matters here.

It finishes with a flourish of parsley. The fresh, raw parsley adds a touch of vibrancy. The wine should similarly cleanse the palate.

Let’s keep these elements in mind as we explore wine options perfectly suited for shrimp scampi.

Best Wine Varietals for Shrimp Scampi

Now we’ll get into specific varietals and styles that pair wonderfully with shrimp scampi. We’ll also include food-friendly wine recommendations along with each varietal overview.

Sauvignon Blanc

With its light body, bright acidity and herbaceous notes, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most versatile and food-friendly white wines available. For shrimp scampi, SB offers just enough richness to match the butter sauce, while providing a squeeze of lemon/lime flavor that reinforces the dish’s brightness.

Sauvignon Blanc also tends to be less expensive than other popular whites like Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, making it a great choice for weeknight meals. Plus, Sauvignon Blanc is available in a wide range of styles from budget-friendly to premium splurge-worthy.

  • Budget-Friendly: Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc
  • Premium Splurge: Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc

Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio is light-bodied, crisp and dry, with understated flavors of citrus, green apple, and honeysuckle. Its subtle profile won’t overshadow the starring shrimp, while its acidity cuts through the rich butter sauce.

Pinot Grigio also tends to be less pricey than other popular whites, with lots of satisfactory options under $15. For shrimp scampi, a basic Pinot Grigio from Italy would pair nicely.

  • Budget-Friendly: Cavit Pinot Grigio
  • Premium Splurge: Jermann Pinot Grigio

Dry Riesling

Dry Riesling is an excellent choice for shrimp scampi and other seafood dishes. The hallmark of Riesling is vibrant, mouthwatering acidity that scrubs the palate clean. Riesling also offers ripe stone fruit flavors like peach, apricot and nectarine that echo the sweetness of the shrimp.

When choosing a Riesling, make sure it’s labeled “dry.” Sweeter styles would clash with shrimp scampi. We recommend a dry Riesling from Germany, where the grape originated.

  • Budget-Friendly: Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling
  • Premium Splurge: Dr. Loosen Riesling


Unoaked Chardonnay has a light, simple profile with apple, citrus and melon flavors. It can match the butteriness of shrimp scampi while maintaining a crisp, refreshing texture.

Lightly oaked Chardonnay also pairs well, enhancing the richness of the sauce. But avoid anything labeled “buttery” since that would overpower the shrimp. For balance, choose a Chardonnay labeled “stainless steel” or look for an unoaked style.

  • Budget-Friendly: La Crema Monterey Chardonnay
  • Premium Splurge: Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Sparkling Wines

The brightness of bubbly wines complement shrimp scampi’s garlicky, lemony flavor. Acidity scrubs the palate clean while persistent beads keep each sip exciting. Choose dry styles like Cava, Prosecco, or basic Champagne. Avoid sweeter options like Moscato d’Asti or demi-sec Champagne.

  • Budget-Friendly: La Marca Prosecco
  • Premium Splurge: Domaine Chandon Brut

Other Excellent Options

While the wines above are sure-fire winners, other varietals like Pinot Blanc, Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, and Soave also make fantastic pairings with shrimp scampi. Dry rosés can work as well. Stay away from oaky wines or reds that would overshadow the seafood.

Factors That Affect the Pairing

Keep in mind elements of the specific shrimp scampi recipe that can alter the ideal wine pairing:

More garlic and olive oil – Match with drier wines like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc

Herb-infused – Herbal wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Albariño work well

Spicy or cajun-seasoned – Cool things off with bright, low-alcohol wines


what kind of wine for shrimp scampi

#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. For that effect to go away, add more butter to the dish and choose a more acidic wine, like Sauvignon Blanc.

Chardonnay is a great wine to go with shrimp scampi, whether it’s served with garlic bread or topped with Parmesan cheese. This wine’s creamy texture and light oak notes will go well with the food, making it a great 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 has a peppery or salty taste or some Parmesan cheese in it, Riesling might go well with it.

What’s special about shrimp scampi?

The shrimp scampi dish comes from Italy and was brought to the US by Italian-American immigrants who brought their recipes with them. In Italian, the word “scampi” stands for Dublin bay prawn — a sea crustacean from the lobster family. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were no scampi in the US, so Italian immigrants had to change their recipe. That’s how “shrimp prepared scampi-style,” subsequently shortened to “shrimp scampi,” appeared.

Today, shrimp scampi is a juicy seafood dish made with garlic, butter, white wine, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Combining these ingredients results in a dish that’s both flavorful and light. The garlic and white wine give it a light sweetness, and the butter makes it rich and full 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.

Garlic, Butter and White Wine Shrimp Recipe

What wine goes with shrimp scampi?

Pairing wine with shrimp scampi is easier than people think. It’s an incredibly versatile dish. In its traditional Italian form, scampi or langoustines, are cooked in a sauce of olive oil, butter, white wine, and garlic. It’s eaten as is, ideally with crusty Italian bread to soak up all those rich flavors (swoon).

What is shrimp scampi?

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.

How do you choose a white wine for shrimp?

Generally, you want to pick a white wine with bright acidity that’s dry or off dry. Light to medium bodied whites are best but there are some shrimp dishes that can handle a fuller style white wine. For specific shrimp dishes and wine pairing, keep scrolling. In no particular order: Are you tired of wasting money on wine you don’t like?

Is Sauvignon blanc good for shrimp scampi?

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.

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