Perfect Pairings: Uncovering the Ideal Wine to Complement Scallops

Scallops are one of the tastiest seafood dishes, but it can be tricky to pair them with wines. They are delicate and can be easily overpowered by strong flavors. This post covers a few of the best wines to pair with scallop dishes, so you’ll never find yourself at a loss when looking for a great wine to serve with that delicious dish.

One of the best wines for scallops is dry, sparkling Blanc de Blanc Champagne. You may also want to seek out Blanc de Blancs Champagne for serving with seared scallops. If you would like to pair a lighter white wine with a scallop dish, try a dry Riesling. There are a lot of different wines you can pair with scallops, but usually, the best option is a dry white wine.

Almost any type of wine will go with scallops, from lighter reds to rich whites. Their mild flavors go great with light, crisp white wine. Some folks may prefer white wine with scallops as it may help bring out the subtle flavors in the seafood.

Scallops with Asparagus Salad

A white wine is generally a better choice with asparagus and scallops, but you can also try a lighter red. Look for a white wine that has enough acidity to pair with the lettuce, but enough richness to pair with the scallops. In a dish that emphasizes the brininess of scallops, look for a dry wine that will balance the salty flavors. A dry, sparkling wine that has some bite is the perfect finish for rich dishes such as scallops.

The texture of the scallops, combined with the tartness of the salad, means that you need to find a wine that falls nicely between. You want a wine that is capable of cutting through some of the richness of baked or grilled scallops but does not compromise the other flavors in the process. Serves better when focusing on scallop dishes with a few robust flavors.

You can consider scallop dishes to be the perfect match for a creamy white wine. The subtle sweetness of scallops makes it a versatile component when it comes to wine pairings. The flavors of the scallops are most evident in this wine, thanks to the pairing of the tart acidity with a gentle sweetness.

You could even pair it with another sweet wine, such as White Burgundy to compliment its natural sweetness. White Burgundy or champagne are both naturally sweet, which makes an interesting pairing for grilled scallops. Butter also complements the rich sweetness of the scallops, so look for light citrus or herb flavors to boost each bite’s flavor. If your scallops are served with cream sauce, try pairing it with rich white wine, such as a buttery Chardonnay.

Scallops with Mushrooms

If you are looking for red wine to pair with scallops, a lighter-bodied red such as Pinot Noir is a great choice. For instance, mushrooms or meat served with scallops will lend themselves to a light to medium-bodied red such as Pinot Noir.

Scallops Wrapped in Bacon

If you like scallops wrapped in bacon, Matching Food & Wine suggests pairing it with lighter reds, like Sancerre, Beaujolais, and red Pinot Noir, to get a more harmonious wine experience. It is best to save the Pinot Noir pairings for the Bacon Wrapped Scallops for the house. If the scallops are served on their own, then Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Beaujolais, and Pinot Noir are suitable match-ups.

Scallops wrapped in bacon go great with the rich, dry Chardonnay, which complements the buttery flavors of the combo. An oaky, buttery Chardonnay will compliment the buttery flavors in this pairing, while toasty, vanilla flavors will compliment the caramelized flesh of scallops.

Some good white wine choices for scallops include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Chardonnay. Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc are great choices; Champagne or sparkling wines make for an excellent pairing, too.

Seared/Grilled Scallops with Risotto

If pan-searing or grilling the scallops, a vintage Chardonnay or old-vine, off-dry Chenin blanc will go great. For instance, a scallop risotto pairs beautifully with Chardonnay, particularly if you are also including either crab or lobster as a component. The rich, creamy risotto goes great with the scallops and the risotto, while the wine’s acidity helps balance out the risotto.

Searing scallops on the plate enhances the flavors in a dish, adding a bit of complexity to the plate if combined with more expensive wines. You may have guessed by now that scallops, as well as most seafood, go well with white wines and sparkling wines, and this is true at a very basic, very general level. If you are pairing scallops with risotto made of baby greens, then maybe some sweetness is in order, while if you are looking for a bit of tartness, then a good white can bring out enough of the character. A dry, sparkling wine would add some tartness and just enough richness to compliment the scallops, as well as give that pea base a little kick.

Other Options

A sweet, dry wine such as Riesling has a way of cutting through the salty, tangy flavors while giving the mouth a sweetness element that compliments the flavors of the dishes. If you are eating the scallops raw or in the form of ceviche, a dry white like Pinot Grigio is a better option.

Conclusion

Overall, the wines that paired best with scallops were those that had a nice balance of acidity and fruitiness. This prevented the scallop’s richness from becoming overbearing, while also providing a refreshing counterpoint to an otherwise thick and creamy dish. The best wine to pair with scallops is a matter of personal preference, and you must consider how you plan to cook the scallops, and how you will be serving it.

My preference is always to prepare scallops as simply as possible, so as not to overwhelm them. They don’t need more than a light searing and serve with some fresh greens. My choice of wine pairing for this simple dish is Chardonnay but I would encourage you to try some of the wines discussed to find your own favorite.

If you liked this, check out my other seafood pairing posts on the Best wine for Lobster and the Best wine for Oysters.