Gone are the days when the only wine that went with shellfish was white. Today, anything goes. It’s best to think in terms of how it’s cooked, and its density and meatiness.
A light, buttery Burgundy Chardonnay’s distinct flavor profile pairs perfectly with lobster regardless of how you cook it, and whether you eat it with a simple drawn butter or brown butter, or with a more complex butter-based sauce. Chenin Blanc comes in at a close second, as does champagne or similar sparkling wines.
Since shrimp aren’t as aggressively flavored as lobster, you’ll want to skip the Chardonnay and opt for something pink or sparkling instead…though honestly, almost anything white, save for Chardonnay, will pair. If you’re cooking shrimp with garlic, go for Sauvignon Blanc. For shrimp cooked with a spicier sauce, we’re looking at you, Riesling. And if you’re making a more robust sauce such as Romesco, fruity and full-bodied Rose all the way.
If you’re pan-searing or grilling scallops, a vintage Chardonnay or an off-dry old vine Chenin Blanc pairs perfectly. If butter sauce or an herb-based sauce is your jam, a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough region of New Zealand will be delicious (and these tend to be super affordable as well). If serving your scallops with bacon, pancetta, or any cured pork product, don’t be afraid to go darker and pair with a chilled Pinot Noir or Beaujolais. And to add a little something sparkly to your scallops (and who couldn’t use a little sparkle?), reach for a Blanc de Blancs champagne.
The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of shellfish! Check out one of our delicious fall shellfish recipes. Cheers!