For most of history, wine was more popular to accompany meals far more than water. The local food and winemaking evolved together to create stellar pairings that people loved. But for some, pairing can be a little overwhelming. Like, what wine goes well with shrimp? Wouldn’t the rich flavors of wine overpower the dish?
Of course, we want to taste the palatable flavor of the dish while enjoying the elegant nature of wine. So today, we’ll show you some tips and tricks on how to pair wine with shrimp.
Introducing The Flavors of Wine and Shrimp
Considering the taste of the wine and food you pair can make your dining experience more enjoyable. And one way to do it is to be familiar with the flavor intensities of the dish and the beverage. Is the meal sweet? Is the wine bitter to taste?
Following the rule of thumb in food pairings, white wines go well with light meats like chicken and shellfish. And red wine goes well with red meats like lamb and beef. However, there are red wine varieties that you can pair with shrimp without it outshining the other.
Red wine often has higher tannins making it bitter to taste. But don’t get intimidated by it because, at the end of this article, we will share some lightweight and low tannin count red wines to consider. On the other hand, white wines have a light and citrusy taste. It is highly acidic that can enhance the flavor of white meat dishes.
Now let’s talk about the flavor palate of shrimp. Among the creatures in the sea, shrimp is not frankly the best at giving flavors. But it has a springy and firm texture that makes it inviting. Shrimps have mild buttery, salty, and sweet tastes. It is very light with slight creamy notes. And unlike most fish, it does not have a fishy smell and flavor.
Keep these flavor characteristics in mind! It will come in handy once we talk about pairings.
Pairing 101: Wine and Shrimp
We’ve tackled the different taste profile of the wine and shrimp. So now, let’s talk about the basics of pairing and what you need to consider.
- Examine the overall flavor of the dish. Is it served with sauce? If yes, then focus on the taste of the sauce to match the wine. Since the shrimp taste light, the herbs and spices usually overpower the dish.
- Think about the sweetness and saltiness of the dish. For salty shrimp dishes, balance it with a less dry wine. Too much bitterness and salt can be off-putting. Also, note that the wine should be sweeter than the dish. Doing this will help avoid too much tart taste in the wine.
- Consider your taste preference. Despite the long list of rules in food pairing, how you enjoy your food accounts for the best dining experience. Some may like the complete opposite some may prefer the conventional way. Remember that food pairing is a continuous experiment of combining and balancing flavors. So go ahead, don’t be afraid to explore and discover.
There are different rules when it comes to food pairing. Factors like wine acidity, fat content, and tannins also affect your decision. Watch this video to learn more about the basic rules of pairing food and wine:
A Quick Wine and Shrimp Pairings Guide
According to NOAA fisheries, shrimp is among the most popular marine seafood consumed in the US. Shrimp became a valuable seafood commodity because of its versatility at home and in food service. With that, a long list of shrimp recipes is growing today. Here are the six most common shrimp dishes and their wine pairing.
|Common Shrimp Dishes
|Recommended Wine Pairing
|American Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
|Prosecco and Chardonnay
|Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco, Godello
|Stir Fry Shrimp
|Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Barbera
|Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Pinot Noir
|Oaked Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, German Riesling
These are just a few examples of wine you can pair with shrimp dishes. Do not feel limited by the suggestions. Remember our third rule? Consider your taste preference. You can explore other styles and see what works and what does not.
The Best White Wines To Pair With Shrimp
Now that you’ve seen the different styles of wine to pair with shrimp dishes, it’s time to highlight the best ones with their characteristics.
Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with most shrimp dishes because of its crispness and zestiness. It is a dry white wine with honeydew, grapefruit, white peach, and passion fruit notes. It also has low-level tannins with a high level of acidity that helps elevate the flavor of the shrimp. Serve it at 45 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit for that refreshing taste.
Prosecco is the most famous sparkling wine made from the Glera grape in Italy. It appeals to many wine drinkers because of its soft taste and affordable price.
Prosecco has honeydew, pear, lager, cream, and green apple-tasting notes. It is dry with a light body that perfectly balances with shrimp scampi. The bubbly nature of Prosecco also pairs well with fried shrimp because it clogs away the fats in your mouth.
Chardonnay is another popular beverage with a wide variety of styles. While often interchanged with Prosecco, they use different types of grapes and methods to produce. Chardonnay has starfruit, pineapple, vanilla, butter, and yellow apple-tasting notes. It is a mild white wine with a less complex flavor, making it an ideal pairing with most shrimp dishes.
Riesling has varying styles ranging from dry to very sweet, making it easy to pair with any shrimp dishes. Despite its array of styles, Riesling has some interesting taste profiles.
It has lime, green apple, jasmine, beeswax, and petroleum taste. Riesling has a light body with high acidity and a low alcohol content compared to most white wines. Serve it at 38 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit to enjoy your meal.
Red Wines That You Can Pair With Shrimp
Red wines are often paired with red meat because of the high level of tannins that interact well with the protein. Tannins found on the grape skins help soften the fat in the meat, helping release additional flavors. Conversely, the overpowering taste of red wine can bury the taste of white meat.
Pinot Noir and Barbera are two red wine styles that can be balanced with shrimp dishes.
- Pinot Noir has a light to medium body with a low tannin level.
- Barbera is a light-bodied, fruity wine with less bitterness.
Shrimp Recipes To Recreate
This grilled shrimp recipe features smoky and tangy flavors from the marinade that will surely fill the air with goodness. Garlic, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce are some of its ingredients that add acidity and depth to the flavor. Aside from the listed pairings, Zinfandel also works well with this recipe.
Southern fried shrimp
Are you looking for a great recipe to serve but don’t have much time to prepare? Crunchy on the outside and bursting with flavors on the inside, this fried shrimp recipe only takes 15 minutes. You can also add cayenne pepper for that extra spice and balance it with a semi-dry riesling.
Garlic butter shrimp
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert home cook, this garlic butter shrimp recipe is worth recreating. It has a lemon and garlicky taste that can be served as-is or over pasta. But be sure not to overcook it to avoid the rubbery texture. Pair it with Sauvignon Blanc, and you have yourself a heavenly meal.
Stir fry shrimp
Shrimp deserves recognition for being a healthy food. It is low in calories, high in protein and rich in micronutrients. But make it a little extra by tossing in some greens. Try out this flavor-packed stir-fry shrimp recipe for your next dinner. And don’t forget to pair it with Chenin Blanc to make it exceptional.
The shrimp recipe list is not complete without the popular shrimp gumbo recipe. This aperitive dish captures the heart of shrimp lovers because of its rich flavor. And the not-so-secret ingredient to it is the slow-cooked roux. Top the thick stew on white rice. Then pair it with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc to complete the meal.
From a hearty stew to a savory barbecue, shrimp are a great light meat to work around. New Orleans-inspired barbecue shrimp makes a perfect appetizer. It has a spicy, buttery, and acidic characteristic that you can pair with a cold wine. It is also a salty dish, so try pairing it with a less dry wine.
Cheers To Wine And Shrimp!
Do you now know what wine goes well with shrimp? In a nutshell, familiarizing the taste profile of the wine and food makes it easier to grasp the whole pairing concept.
Does it complement the overall flavors of the dish? Does it balance the sweetness and saltiness when paired? Does it appeal to your palate? These are some questions to ponder if you want to enhance the flavor of a dish.
Shrimps may have a light delicate taste, but when paired with the right wine, you know it’ll be flavorsome. So go ahead and try out different wine styles and shrimp recipes.
George Moore, co-founder of Wine Flavor Guru, is a charismatic entrepreneur with a rich background in California’s wine industry. Alongside Sylvia, he transformed a Sonoma County vineyard into a source of premium wines. George’s expertise in sourcing exceptional grapes and his approachable style make wine appreciation both accessible and engaging.