What Wine Goes Best with Shrimp? A Detailed Guide to Perfect Pairings

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 is a versatile and delicious seafood that can be prepared in endless ways. From shrimp cocktails and shrimp scampi to coconut shrimp and grilled shrimp, there are so many options! But when it comes to wine, what should you drink with shrimp?

As a wine lover and foodie I’ve experimented with all kinds of shrimp and wine pairings. In this detailed guide I’ll walk you through the best wines to drink with shrimp, no matter how it’s prepared. Whether you’re making shrimp for a date night in or hosting a dinner party, use this as your go-to reference for choosing the perfect wine.

Why White Wine Is Best with Shrimp

First things first – when pairing wine with shrimp, white wine is almost always the way to go There are a few reasons for this

  • Shrimp has a delicate flavor that would easily get overpowered by fuller-bodied reds. Whites allow the sweet shrimp flavor to shine

  • White wines are more acidic, which works well with seafood. The acid helps cut through the richness of dishes like shrimp scampi.

  • Most shrimp preparations have butter, oil or cream-based sauces. Dry white wines offset and balance out the fattiness.

Of course there are always exceptions, which I’ll get to later. But in general, crispy and acidic whites pair splendidly with shrimp.

Factors to Consider When Pairing Wine with Shrimp

Shrimp can be augmented in so many ways through different cooking methods and ingredient additions. Here are some factors to keep in mind when selecting a wine:

Preparation Method – Grilled vs fried vs baked shrimp leads to very different flavors. Grilled shrimp can handle light reds while fried shrimp calls for brighter whites.

Sauces & Seasonings – Garlicky shrimp scampi or spicy Creole shrimp will need wines that won’t intensify those flavors. Coconut shrimp with a sweet chili sauce requires a sweet wine.

Sides & Garnishes – What are you serving with the shrimp? Pasta or risotto side dishes work best with medium-bodied wines.

Personal Preference – Don’t overlook your own palate! If you love oaky Chardonnay, then that may be your perfect pairing.

Now let’s get into specific wines to try with popular shrimp dishes.

Best Wines to Pair with Shrimp Cocktail

An ice-cold glass of bubbly is my go-to pairing for shrimp cocktails. The effervescence, high acidity, and dryness of sparkling wines completely enhances the shrimp, sauce flavors and cleans the palate.

  • Champagne – Staying classic never fails. A crisp, brut Champagne has just the right amount of acid and complexity.

  • Prosecco – For Italian-inspired shrimp cocktails, light and fruity Prosecco is ideal.

  • Cava – Spanish Cava offers exceptional value for money. Fresh and zippy with lemon-lime notes.

  • Cremant – Try an elegant Cremant from Burgundy or Loire Valley. Distinctive minerality.

  • Sparkling Rose – A dry rose bubbly will put a fun twist on a shrimp cocktail. Berry and citrus flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc – A Reliable Partner for Shrimp

From simple garlic shrimp to sophisticated scampi, you can rarely go wrong with a Sauvignon Blanc. Its zesty acidity, herbal qualities and restrained fruity flavors mesh beautifully with shrimp. Some styles to consider:

  • New Zealand – Passionfruit and grapefruit flavors with a crisp, lasting finish. Nicely acidic.

  • California – Look for tropical notes like pineapple and mango along with zippy acid.

  • France (Sancerre) – Elegant and sophisticated with mouthwatering acidity. Mineral and flint undertones.

  • Chile – Typically great value for money. Gooseberry and lime notes with a touch of grassiness.

Full-Bodied Whites for Rich Shrimp Dishes

Buttery garlic shrimp, shrimp alfredo and scampi cry out for a fuller-bodied white that can match the richness. Oak-aged whites also pair well by mirroring the buttery flavors.

  • Unoaked Chardonnay – A leaner style of Chardonnay with crisp green apple and citrus notes.

  • Oaked Chardonnay – Buttery, with flavors of toasted oak, baked apple and spice. Avoid over-oaked versions.

  • White Rioja – Full-bodied and complex with vanilla oakiness balancing creamy shrimp.

  • Fiano – An Italian white with lovely texture and flavors of apricot, almond and spice.

  • Dry Riesling – Riesling has enough acidity to cut through richness and subtle sweetness.

Off-Dry and Sweet Pairings for Coconut & Sweet Chili Shrimp

The coconut coating and sweet chili sauce often served with coconut shrimp needs a wine with some residual sugar. Off-dry Rieslings and Gewurztraminers both work wonders.

  • Gewurztraminer – An exotic spicy aroma with flavors of lychee, ginger and rosewater.

  • Riesling – Just a touch of sweetness to balance out the coconut-chili combo. Citrus and stone fruit flavors.

  • Moscato d’Asti – Light effervescence and sweet peach, honey and orange blossom notes.

  • Torrontes – An Argentine white with moderate sweetness and aromas of roses and lemon.

  • Spatlese Riesling – German Riesling with more overt sweetness than dry styles. Nectarine and honeyed notes.

Rosé and Light Reds for Grilled Shrimp

The smoky char flavor of grilled shrimp can handle subtle red wines, as long as they are light-bodied. Crisp rosés also pair beautifully.

  • Dry Rosé – Look for vibrant strawberry, watermelon and citrus flavors. Provence-style rosé is perfect.

  • Pinot Noir – An elegant light red with cherry-berry fruit and earthy mushroom notes.

  • Beaujolais – Made from the Gamay grape, with minimal tannins and juicy red fruit flavors.

  • Vinho Verde – A light effervescent Portuguese red with tangy cranberry and pomegranate notes.

  • Bardolino – An Italian wine with bright cherry and spice made for grilled foods.

Shrimp Jambalaya and Etouffee with Chenin Blanc

For Cajun-inspired shrimp dishes packing heat and richness, only a versatile wine like Chenin Blanc can handle the job. Its palate-cleansing acidity helps tame the fiery flavors beautifully.

  • Chenin Blanc – Green apple, lime and honey flavors with a crisp mineral finish.

  • Unoaked Chardonnay – The lively citrus notes counter spicy heat nicely.

  • Albarino – A Spanish white with saline minerality and zesty lemon-lime flavors.

Shrimp Paella and Risotto with Viognier

The hefty rice component of shrimp paella or risotto needs a medium to full-bodied white like Viognier. Its stone fruit flavors and floral aromas work perfectly with saffron and tomatoes.

  • Viognier – Peach, apricot and orange blossom notes with a silky, full mouthfeel.

  • Fiano – Excellent acidity for cutting through the starchiness of rice while matching the richness.

  • Unoaked Chardonnay – A versatile wine with enough body and ripe fruit flavors.

  • Albarino – Bright citrus and briny qualities help refresh the palate.

what wine goes with shrimp

#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.

Pairing Wine With Seafood: Basics of Wine Pairing

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