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Wine Pairings: What Should I Drink with Shrimp Scampi?

Wine Pairings: What Should I Drink with Shrimp Scampi?

Picture this: a warm spring day, robins chirping, jonquils, snapdragons, bacopas, zinnias, verbenas, and petunias in full bloom under a breathtakingly-blue, cloudless, impossibly-sunny sky. What could complete this imagery? If you were thinking a healthy, delicious Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi dish, we're on the same page. And to complement that succulent entrée, you'll need a refreshing bottle of white wine. For the perfect pairing, we traveled to the opposite ends of Italy—the sun-kissed isle of Sardinia in the southwest, where the Argiolas family has been revolutionizing wine since the beginning of the 20th century, and to Fruili in the northwest, an area predominantly considered to produce the pinnacle of Italian whites—to bring you two of our favorites. --MM

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A light, dry whiteTaut, zippy white wine contrasts tender shrimp while cutting its richness with crisp acidity. Pinot grigio from Italy is great with scampi, which has both richness from butter and pungency from garlic and lemon juice. A resolutely dry pinot grigio will match the dish on both fronts. Scarpetta Pinto Grigio, Italy, 2012 ($14)

A rich, minerally whiteMedium- to full-bodied white wine stands up to the sauce and shrimp. Try vermentino, one of Italy's most compelling whites, with rich texture and flavor. It's also crisp, citrusy, and minerally, which refreshes the palate after each bite. Argiolas Vermentino di Sardegna, Sardinia, Italy, 2012 ($11)

Oops!Avoid oaky white, like most chardonnays, as the vanilla sweetness will conflict with garlic. Almost any red will clash, too. — Wine selections by Jordan Mackay


The Beer Wench

For some time now I have been longing to divide my blog posts into 5 different themes:

  1. Drink With The Wench (tastings & reviews)
  2. Cook With The Wench (recipes with beer – both created myself and others)
  3. Travel With The Wench (brewery tours, bar adventures etc.)
  4. Brew With The Wench (home-brewing & guest brewing – this category is still in beta)
  5. The Wench -Uncensored (name is in beta, this is the section in which I will detail my non-beer-yet-beverage-related passions such as wine, scotch and cigars)

Tonight marks my first ever Cook With The Wench post. And it is about damn time. Those who know me well know that I’m a devil in the kitchen. I love food, I love cooking – and I can pretty much out eat anyone I’ve come across (just ask my friend Matt from A Good Time With Wine).

I originally wanted to make mussels in a beer sauce. Not one single store (including a seafood market) had fresh mussels … so I scratched the plan and went with what I am calling The Wench’s Drunken Shrimp Scampi.

The greatest part about cooking is that there is no science to making food taste good.

As long as you have quality ingredients and treat them with the respect they deserve – the end result is almost always pleasant. BUT then again, I take for granted the fact that I am very knowledgeable about food, ingredients, herbs, classic pairings and culinary techniques. Despite that, though, I still believe that anyone can be a wizard in the kitchen.

So on to my recipe, eh? Oh but wait. I need a disclaimer.

WARNING: This is not your mother’s shrimp scampi. In fact, it is probably unlike any shrimp scampi you have ever had in your life. Many chefs will probably “spit in my general direction” (note: Monty Python reference). This recipe is not for the faint of heart … or the faint of palate. No sir. The Wench’s Drunken Shrimp Scampi is for hopheads … and those who do not like hops should stay far, far away. The recipe is bold, bitter and insulting … yet adventurous and deliciously satisfying.

THE WENCH’S DRUNKEN SHRIMP SCAMPI
Featuring Dogfish Head 60 min IPA

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. large fresh shrimp – whatever kind you want – shelled, gutted & deveined
1/2 stick of unsalted BUTTER (real butter you sissies)
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic – minced, sliced, or chopped to preference
1/4 yellow onion – diced
3 (firm) Roma tomatoes
Juice of one lemon
Flat leaf parsley – finely chopped
2 12 oz. bottles of Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper (if you are like me and need to kick EVERYTHING up a notch)
A loaf of FRESH baked bread

INSTRUCTIONS

The first instruction is vital. It must be followed EXACTLY as written or the whole recipe is a big FAIL.

  1. Open the first bottle of Dogfish Head 60 min IPA. Pour into a brandy snifer, tulip glass … oh hell … pour it into a freaking glass and take a big long sip. Ahhhh. Isn’t that nice? Thought so … but don’t get soft on me now. There is still work to do here.
  2. Fill a super big pot – the bigger the better – with water. Salt the water. Put it on the stove and bring it to a boil. While you are waiting you can either:
    1. Shell, gutt and de-vein the shrimp
    2. Mince the garlic, chop the onion and dice the tomatoes
    3. Continue drinking the 60 Minute IPA as you watch family members and/or friends complete the previous tasks.

    Somewhere in this process, either you or your sous chef (aka – child, friend, random guy off the street) will have chopped the flat leaf parsely. This, my friend, is the opportune time to add the parsley to the garlic butter beer shrimp mixture. Toss the pasta into the skillet with all of the other ingredients and ….

    VIOLA! There you have it … The Wench’s Drunken Shrimp Scampi. Don’t forget to slop it up with some fresh baked bread (garlic bread if you feel ambitious). And I would be utterly insulted if you did not pair this dish with a beer – preferablely the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. But I would not be insulted if you paired it with and equally delicious IPA … or craft brew of some sort.

    NOTE: If you do NOT like to drink IPAs, you will not like cooking with them either. This dish definitely has a BITE. I do not suggest using the DFH 60 minute IPA unless you love the flavor of the beer, otherwise the meal will be a disaster. Feel free to substitute the IPA with your favorite beer – I suggest a Hefeweizen or Belgian-style white ale.


    Food Pairing With Dry White Wine

    • Fresh Cheese
    • White Fish With Lemon
    • Shellfish
    • Chardonnay and Shrimp Scampi
    • Spicy Asian Meals
    • Creamy Sauces
    • Macaroni Cheese and Dry Riesling
    • Spicy Pasta Sauces
    • Apple Pie and a Gewürztraminer
    • Bean or Lentil-Based Sauces
    • Deviled Eggs
    • Butter Chicken with Chardonnay
    • Pickled Vegetables
    • Thai Green Curry and Sauvignon Blanc
    • Peach Cobbler and Riesling
    • Lemon Bars and Oaked Chardonnay
    • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and White Chocolate
    • Light Chicken Dishes
    • Fried Fish Tacos with Dry Riesling
    • Sauvignon Blanc and Avocados

    Before we delve into the food and wine pairings, it’s important to talk a little bit about the wine itself. The term dry is sometimes misused, but it isn’t difficult to understand. It simply refers to a wine that isn’t sweet. This type of wine doesn’t contain residual sugar from the grapes.

    The wine is created by using a longer fermentation process than you see with sweeter wine. The extra fermentation time gives the yeast longer to feed on the sugar from the grapes and helps ensure that there isn’t much sugar remaining. Dry wines can still have fruity characteristics, but they also tend to be crisp and aren’t very sweet at all.

    Pinot gris, pinot grigio, chardonnay, riesling, and sauvignon blanc are some of the classic examples of dry white wines. Slightly less common examples include viognier, muscadet, pinot blanc, and torrontés. Sauvignon blanc and chardonnay are often considered two of the driest types of white wine, while wines like pinot gris, pinot grigio, and riesling are on the sweeter end of being dry.

    These differences in sweetness will sometimes be relevant for your wine pairing. Sometimes you’ll want the white wine to be as dry as it possibly can be, while other times a wine like pinot grigio or riesling could be a better fit.

    Also remember that wines of the same type can be quite different from one another. For example, sauvignon blanc is usually made as a dry white wine. However, there are types where you will see it in an off-dry style or as a sparkling wine.

    Fresh Cheese

    The types of cheese in this category tend to have been through very little aging, are often soft, and have a relatively mild flavor. Mozzarella cheese, soft goat’s milk cheese, feta, and ricotta are all classic examples of this type of cheese.

    The subtle flavors of these cheese mean that you need a young, dry, and fruity white wine to complement the cheese without overwhelming it. Sauvignon blanc and young chardonnay are commonly recommended.

    If you’re focusing on a salty fresh cheese, like feta, then a slightly less dry white may be more appealing, like a riesling or perhaps a gewürztraminer

    White Fish With Lemon

    Dry and crisp wines like sauvignon blanc are an ideal choice for pairing with white fish. After all, fish often has a relatively mild flavor that could easily be overwhelmed by wine. Choosing a light wine helps ensure that the flavors of the fish still shine through.

    Including a drizzle of lemon juice brings this food pairing up to the next level, as you end up with a light and bright balance of flavors in your meal and your wine.

    You can also focus on white wines that are slightly zestier or offer a little bit of sweetness, like a pinot grigio. The flavor profile here can make the fish stand out even more.

    You’re not limited to serving fish on its own either. Many fish-based recipes pair well with dry white wine too, including options like fish tacos.

    Shellfish

    The flavor profile of shellfish pairs well with most dry white wines. Choosing a fruity white, like pinot gris, is even better than a non-fruity wine. Doing so gives you a delicious balance of flavors.

    For that matter, fruity white wines combine well with any type of delicately flavored food. You end up with some interesting flavors from the wine, but not enough to overwhelm the food.

    Chardonnay and Shrimp Scampi

    Here’s a fun example of using a dry white with shellfish. Shrimp scampi is a buttery pasta dish that gets some flavor from the sauce and the rest from the shrimp. Chardonnay is a perfect pairing for both of these aspects of the dish, helping to highlight the creaminess of the meal without overwhelming any of the flavors.

    You could even turn to a white burgundy, which is a specific type of chardonnay that comes from the Burgundy region in France. White burgundy is often thought to be the best type of chardonnay, so once you try it, you might not want to go back.

    Spicy Asian Meals

    Dry whites aren’t limited to subtle foods. The right white wine can also be used to complement spicy meals, including Asian dishes.

    The trick here is to look for wines that have spicy or acidic notes. This includes examples like viognier, gewürztraminer, and riesling. It might seem surprising, but the white wine doesn’t actually get drowned out in this type of combination. Instead, the acidity tends to cut through some of the strong flavors of the meal, creating an interesting contrast.

    Creamy Sauces

    Chardonnay is often recommended as the wine of choice when you’re serving a creamy sauce. This includes pasta dishes where the sauce is one of the main features of the meal.

    Chardonnay works well in this context because it has some buttery flavor notes. So, for example, you could serve chardonnay with a fettuccine alfredo. With this pairing, the wine would complement the flavors and creaminess of the dish, but also offers enough acidity to cut through some of the cream in the dish. The acidity is important, as this helps your meal to not seem too rich.

    Indeed, chardonnay is a perfect go-to choice for any creamy pasta dish, especially one that is laden with cheese.

    Macaroni Cheese and Dry Riesling

    If you want a more unusual food pairing, try serving macaroni cheese with a dry riesling. This combination isn’t common, as most people recommend using a gentle pinot noir or chardonnay with macaroni cheese. And, as we mentioned earlier, the buttery tones of chardonnay do make it an easy choice for most creamy pasta dishes.

    A dry riesling, on the other hand, doesn’t complement the creaminess of the macaroni cheese in the way that your chardonnay will. Instead, the crispness of the riesling provides a strong contrast, much like having a refreshing snack at the same time as your creamy meal.

    While this idea might sound odd, it’s certainly worth trying for yourself. Some wine pairings do rely on a contrast between the wine and the food. They often end up creating a much more interesting meal in the process.

    Spicy Pasta Sauces

    Pasta dishes that rely on a strong or spicy sauce, like puttanesca and arrabbiata, pair extremely well with sharp dry white wines. The sharpness of the wine is important here, as this is what contrasts against the spiciness of the pasta sauce.

    Don’t worry though, the wine isn’t going to overwhelm the sauce (or vice versa). Instead, the contrast is only strong enough to create an interesting balance of flavors for your meal.

    Apple Pie and a Gewürztraminer

    Gewürztraminer is still considered a dry white wine, even though it is a little sweeter than its counterparts. One reason is that the wine is highly aromatic, which makes it taste sweeter than it actually is. Gewürztraminer is also known for having a delicious balance of fruit flavors and spice.

    That balance is why gewürztraminer works so well with apple pie. After all, apple pie tends to combine fruit and spice as well. You should have at least a little cinnamon present. Many apple pie recipes will contain other spices too.

    Having a similar balance of spice and fruit in your wine and in your meal is simply excellent. Creating this type of parallel between food and wine can create an unbeatable combination.

    Bean or Lentil-Based Sauces

    You’ll sometimes see beans or lentils used as part of a pasta sauce. For this type of meal, a Tuscan red wine like Chianti is an easy and delicious choice.

    White wines are occasionally recommended as well, including a dry chardonnay, especially partly oaked one. The best choices will come from Côte d'Or in France, although you may need to settle for something local instead.

    Deviled Eggs

    Food and wine pairing doesn’t always focus on large meals. Finger foods, like deviled eggs, can also benefit from the right wine.

    You can make deviled eggs in countless different ways. Some recipes follow traditional approaches and the flavor of the egg often shines through. Others are more complex, perhaps relying on different spices or flavor packed ingredients like bacon.

    Regardless of the recipe that you choose, a dry white wine tends to be your best choice with the eggs. This way, you’re giving the flavors of your food plenty of chances to shine.

    A dry prosecco is an especially good choice. This way you’re not just getting the contrast between the richness of the egg and the vibrancy of the wine, but you’re also getting bubbles.

    Prosecco also happens to pair well with other finger foods, particularly those that have been fried. This makes the wine an ideal choice if you’re hosting some type of event.

    Butter Chicken with Chardonnay

    Pairing chardonnay with butter chicken shows just how versatile the wine is. Chardonnay has enough body, acid, and depth of flavor that it can stand up to the butter chicken well, complementing the flavors of the curry without being overwhelmed.

    Using a dry white wine like chardonnay with butter chicken is also helpful because rich dishes can sometimes be overwhelming. The sharpness of a dry wine can help to cleanse your palate and make the meal seem more balanced.

    Pickled Vegetables

    Pickled vegetables tend to be palate cleansers, which means that the wine you choose doesn’t matter as much as with other foods. Still, if you’re going to serve wine with pickled vegetables, then a dry white wine is the ideal choice.

    This type of wine ends up promoting the palate cleansing aspect of the vegetables even more strongly.

    Look for a white wine that has a decent amount of acid. A sauvignon blanc is an easy choice here, especially as there are some herbal flavors present. You could look for a riesling as well.

    Thai Green Curry and Sauvignon Blanc

    Thai green curry works well with multiple white wines, including pinot gris and off-dry riesling. In both these cases, the slight sweetness in the wine works well with the spiciness of the curry, giving you an enjoyable contrast.

    Sauvignon blanc can be an even better choice. This doesn’t offer the same sweetness as the other choices, but you often get some pea flavor notes, especially if you focus on sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or Chile.

    Peach Cobbler and Riesling

    Sweet desserts sound like they should be paired with sweet wine, but this isn’t always true. A dry wine can often work much better, as you get a fantastic contrast between the dessert and the wine.

    In this case, we’re suggesting serving peach cobbler with a dry riesling. We’re focusing on riesling because the wine often contains flavors of green apple and citrus, both of which work well with the sweetness of your peach cobbler.

    The acidity of riesling is important here too, as this is another way that the wine contrasts your dessert. If you can, look for a German riesling. This type of riesling tends to have earthier tones. These work well with the crust of your peach cobbler.

    Lemon Bars and Oaked Chardonnay

    While we’re on the topic of desserts, lemon bars are another option that pairs well with dry white wine. This time, chardonnay is an ideal type of wine to try, especially if you’re choosing an oaked chardonnay. Aging chardonnay in oak provides a layer of creamy richness that is unusual in white wine.

    Lemon bars, on the other hand, tend to have a fresh and zingy flavor from the lemon, while the crust provides richness and buttery tones. This contrast is an appealing one and the chardonnay simply parallels it.

    New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and White Chocolate

    Pairing wine and chocolate is a field all of its own. We’ve covered the topic in-depth as part of a post on wine and chocolate pairing, but this particular combination is too good to pass up.

    Choosing a New Zealand sauvignon blanc is important here, as sauvignon blanc from New Zealand tends to be fruitier and has stronger passionfruit flavors than sauvignon blanc from other parts of the world.

    The increased fruitiness is important, as this adds an entirely new layer of flavor to your white chocolate, without overwhelming the taste of the chocolate at all. Honestly, it’s like you end up with an entirely different dessert.

    Light Chicken Dishes

    It’s easy to see why chicken is traditionally paired with white wine. After all, chicken dishes often have subtle flavors and are fresh, so white wine complements them well without overwhelming them. This is particularly true if you’re focusing on skinless chicken breasts, as these are low in fat.

    The combination doesn’t just apply to chicken on its own either. Other light meals that rely on chicken can be paired with white wine too. Chicken noodle soup and a salad with poached chicken are both examples where white wine will be perfect. You can probably think of many others too.

    A crisp sauvignon blanc is one of the best white wines to rely on here. There’s no risk that of the wine overwhelming the chicken and the wine even contains complementary herbaceous notes.

    Fried Fish Tacos with Dry Riesling

    Dry white wine is commonly paired with fish anyway, so serving a dry riesling with fried fish tacos shouldn’t be too surprising. Focusing on a dry riesling is important here, as an overly sweet version isn’t going to complement a fish taco well at all.

    There’s another advantage too. A dry riesling tends to be a crisp choice, so it contrasts nicely with fried foods. There will often be some citrus tones present too. These naturally complement the fish, just like a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

    Sauvignon Blanc and Avocados

    The herbaceous tones in sauvignon blanc make it a natural choice for many vegetarian dishes, along with other herb-focused meals. The same qualities make sauvignon blanc a natural choice for avocados.

    The wine ends up pairing well with most avocado-based dishes, like guacamole and avocado toast. What could be better than serving a glass of crisp sauvignon blanc with avocado toast?


    The Best Wine and Seafood Pairings

    Today, we're classing it up. Get out the stemware and pop open the cork. It's time to talk about why wine and seafood make such a great pairing — and how to do it right.

    Here's what you should drink depending on your seafood meal.

    Champagne + Fried Seafood

    It might seem like an odd mix of status symbols, but the bubbly lightness of champagne cuts the heaviness of fried food perfectly. Opt for a glass of sparkling wine if you're enjoying tempura-fried shrimp or fish and chips.

    Pinot Grigio + Baked Halibut

    In general, white wine and white fish are a match made in heaven — and a nice pinot grigio and baked halibut are no exception. Particularly if you've opted for a simple preparation method (think: olive oil, herbs and lemon), the crisp fruitiness of this fan-favorite white wine will enhance every flavor of your fish.

    Sauvignon Blanc + Shrimp Scampi

    Garlic and sauvignon blanc are a match made in heaven, making it the perfect wine to accompany your shrimp scampi with all it's garlic buttery goodness. You can even drink a glass of the same wine you use to make your sauce — we won't tell.

    Chardonnay + Crab Legs

    A slightly fuller-bodied white wine, chardonnay is a great choice for richer seafood, like crab legs. Since chardonnay is a dry wine, it goes great with the rich flavor of crab meat — just don't forget to put those pinkies up when you're cracking into the claw.

    Pinot Noir + Salmon

    While plenty of white wines work great with salmon, this fattier fish also stands up well to a lighter red, like a pinot noir. Take note, though: This pairing works even better when the salmon is combined with a heartier flavor profile or sauce. Think cream sauce, pesto or even something tomato-based.

    With these pairings in mind, you can go forth and pour a glass with confidence. Now let's hurry up and get cooking. All this talk of drinking and eating has us hungry…


    Pasta wine pairing basics.

    Seafood Wine Matches

    One of the most enjoyable, and simple, pasta dishes is Shrimp Scampi. This dish comes alive with zesty, crisp white wines like Pinot Grigio or chilled Chardonnay.

    Salmon, can be a great match with the red fruits and smoky flavours of Pinot Noir Lightly cooked salmon with delicate flavours, better suited to lighter-bodied wines like Rosé, or a nice chilled white.

    Pasta and tomato sauce wine matches

    The most popular, style of pasta is with tomato sauce. The combination of tomatoes with enhancing ingredients like basil, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and garlic give you the perfect palette to pair with aromatic, red wines or crisp dry white wines like Unoaked Chardonnay,Sauvignon Blanc Pinot Grigio and Riesling.

    The acid in tomatoes go very well with slightly tangy wines. Make sure you avoid big, ripe reds like Barossa Shiraz or McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon. The acid in the sauce may make them taste harsh.


    Summer French White Wine Pairings

    Remember the days of summer barbecues and outdoor gatherings? This year, more than ever, the nostalgia is real. We’re all craving normalcy, and if you’re anything like me, a glass of cool French white wine on a hot summer day feels like the perfect kind of normal. Here are five classic summer French whites along with some delicious food pairing ideas to make this summer feel like the good ole days of 2019. Enjoy!

    Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is a refreshing, fruity, and herbal wine that is perfect for summertime. In France, Sauvignon Blanc grows mainly in the Loire Valley, with a small portion coming from Bordeaux. In the Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc is almost always produced as a single-varietal wine, whereas in Bordeaux, it is often blended with Semillon or Muscadelle. In the cooler Loire Valley, Sauvignon Blanc’s flavors are more herbal and green. This is because of an aroma compound called methoxypyrazines, which is responsible for the vegetal or green pepper smells in wine. Plus, with cooler temperatures comes higher acidity since the grapes don’t have as much heat and sunshine to develop sugars (i.e. to ripen). In Bordeaux, where the summer temperatures can be quite hot, the aroma profile of Sauvignon Blanc tends to be driven by tropical fruit notes like passionfruit, grapefruit, and pineapple. This is because as the berries ripen more, they lose that green, grassy character to make way for other, fruitier varietal aromas. Plus, Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux tends to be higher in ABV (around 12-13%) than from the Loire (around 10-12%), since riper grapes contain more sugars that will be converted into alcohol.

    Food pairings

    Herb-rubbed white fish and grilled asparagus

    With its crisp, herbal flavors, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley pairs well with white fish like cod or tilapia. Cover the fish in a lemon pepper or dill rub before cooking it for an even better pairing. The grilled asparagus rounds out the meal with a green crunch.

    Grilled lamb skewers with cucumber mint tzatziki

    The smoky, grilled lamb and radishes are brightened with the cool cucumber-mint tzatziki for a perfectly balanced meal. For a touch of heat, add a cayenne pepper rub to the lamb before it hits the grill. This dish, with its herbal tzatziki sauce, is perfect for pairing with Sauvignon Blanc.

    Riesling tends to get a bad rap for being sweet, but actually, most French Rieslings are dry! This grape is planted in Alsace, the small wine region in Eastern France that flanks the border of Germany. Alsace has cool, breezy nights in the summer even if the days can be quite hot, which helps retain acidity in the grapes. Dry styles of Alsatian Riesling tend to be harvested on the earlier side, which means they still have bright acidity. In the glass, this translates into a mouth-watering wine.

    On the nose, Riesling is aromatic and slightly floral. On the palate, it is light-bodied, with flavors of honey, lime, green apple, and jasmine. Thanks to its high acidity, Alsatian Riesling is also a great contender for aging. In aged styles, the wine can take on a petroleum flavor, which is thanks to a compound called TDN that develops from the breakdown of other molecules in the wine called carotenoids. No matter what style or age you choose, Alsatian Riesling is not to be overlooked!

    Food pairings

    Spicy pad thai

    For spicy food, don’t be afraid to get an off-dry (i.e. semi-sweet) Riesling. The sugar will coat your mouth to reduce the burn. Plus, the wine’s bright citrus and floral flavors are a great contrast to the rich, umami pad thai sauce.

    Chicken and rice bowl with mango avocado salsa and cilantro

    This dish would be great with a Riesling that has just a tiny hint of sweetness to balance the sweetness of the salsa. The aromatic nature of Riesling makes it a good pair for aromatic accouterments like cilantro and mango.

    Marsanne/Roussanne

    The Marsanne/Roussanne blend is typical of the Rhône Valley. Marsanne is a highly aromatic grape, with flavors of apricot, honey, and pear. Roussanne is a powerful grape that gives body to the wine and has flavors of lemon, brioche, apricot, and chamomile. When young, these blends show citrus, melon, and mineral character. But they are certainly worth the wait. Aged Marsanne/Roussanne takes on almond and quince flavors that add depth and complexity. For a real treat, try one that is at least 10 years old. When oaked, it is very reminiscent of an oaked Chardonnay. Sometimes, Viognier is added to the blend, which adds a floral perfume.

    Food pairings

    Shrimp Scampi

    These blends pair fabulously with seafood, especially richer seafood like shrimp. For a foolproof pairing, try shrimp scampi with bright lemon, parsley, and garlic. The weight of the dish, with its buttery sauce, will match well with the body of the wine. And the wine’s bright lemon and mineral notes will be a perfect match with the flavors of the dish.

    Lobster Rolls

    Lobster rolls are a special summertime treat that calls for an equally special wine. An aged, oaked Marsanne/Roussanne blend would not only match lobster rolls in terms of weight but would add a deeper complexity, with nuances of sweet corn and almond.

    Chenin Blanc

    Chenin Blanc is a grape grown in France’s Loire Valley. It creates amazingly diverse wines thanks to its suitability for many different styles, including sparkling, still, semi-sweet, and even brandy. In the Loire Valley, where the temperatures are cooler, Chenin Blanc tends to be picked when it has very high acidity, making it a good candidate for sparkling wine. A fantastic summer wine is a dry-style sparkling Chenin Blanc from Vouvray. With its flavors of pear, honeysuckle, apple, and ginger, this wine is great for whetting the palate during a pre-dinner aperitif.

    Food Pairings

    French fries

    Who said French fries only pair well with burgers and beer? Because dry sparkling styles of Chenin Blanc have very high acidity with tiny bubbles, they make a great candidate for salty, fried foods. A sparkling Vouvray with french fries is like a match made in heaven. To make it classy, you could do roasted potato wedges sprinkled with parmesan, garlic, and rosemary. Serve it with a garlic aioli dip.

    Sweet and sour chicken

    A sweeter style of Chenin Blanc is best for this dish because the wine’s fruity sweetness and high acidity will balance with the contrasting sweet and sour flavors of the chicken. Plus the fattiness of the dish is balanced by the body of the wine.

    Just like Riesling gets mislabeled as sweet, Chardonnay often gets overlooked for being a simple, basic wine. The reason Chardonnay is so popular across the world is that it is highly suitable for a variety of climates and soils – but this doesn’t mean everyone does it well. If you want a high-quality and decidedly “un-basic” Chardonnay, look no further than Chablis in Burgundy, France. The wines from Chablis tend to be unoaked, which gives a light-bodied, crisp wine with chalky, white flower, pear, and citrus flavors and medium-high acidity. In the heat of the summer, there is nothing better than cooling off with a glass of Chablis.

    Food pairings

    Spinach salad with walnuts, gorgonzola, and pear w/ honey vinaigrette

    A salad like this begs for a light-bodied white wine with a complementary flavor profile. A Chardonnay from Chablis fits the bill perfectly with its pear and citrus flavors.

    While Chablis is landlocked, it pairs surprisingly well with oysters. The reason lies in the area’s geography. During the Jurassic period, Chablis was covered by a saltwater ocean. Today, its soils are still made up of the crushed shells and sediments from the ocean floor, which translates into a touch of salinity in the wine. There’s a piece of trivia for when you’re sipping a Chablis at your next oyster cocktail party

    Charlotte is a Master of Science candidate in Wine and Vineyard Sciences in Bordeaux, France. Her passion for wine developed thanks to a bartending gig at a little French wine bar in Washington, DC. Eventually, she quit her desk job to manage the wine bar full time. Hailing from Northern Vermont, she is fond of outdoor hockey rinks, local ski hills, and farm-to-table food and drink.

    Photo Credit: Pad Thai @unsplash the-creative-exchange French fries – @magnusjonasson @unsplash Herb-Rubbed Whitefish @AdobeStock


    The Importance of High Quality, Sustainable Shrimp

    The key to a great Shrimp Scampi is using the right, high-quality ingredients. Fresh herbs and garlic make all the difference when crafting your butter sauce, and of course, the shrimp is PARAMOUNT.

    I refuse to cook with anything but Naked Shrimp. This is, in my experience, the best shrimp product on the market. It is totally chemical-free with no preservatives, no additives, no antibiotics, no phosphates, and no added water. Just pure, natural shrimp.

    Naked Shrimp are 4-Star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Certified Sustainable, which means each step of the process is carefully monitored to ensure responsible practices.

    WHY does this matter? Well – chemically-treated shrimp have water added to them. So, when you sauté shrimp in the pan, all the water will cook out of them, they will not sear properly, and you will be left with a rubbery, chemical-tasting shrimp.

    With Naked Shrimp – you are able to get beautiful caramelization from the natural sugar present in the shrimp, along with a crisp, clean texture.

    According to an article from WebMD about shrimp’s health benefits, “unless you live near the coast, shrimp at your local grocery likely aren’t fresh. They’ll be frozen or previously frozen and thawed.” Naked Shrimp are “flash frozen” using state-of-the-art technology in order to lock in the maximum flavor, texture and freshness, until the moment you’re ready to thaw and cook it.

    This adds another layer of convenience because you can thaw the night before, or even on a moment’s notice. You can also feel confident that your shrimp has been “frozen in time” from the time it is harvested until the time you are cooking it.


    The ingredients you'll need to make this recipe

    Here's a list of the ingredients you'll need to make this shrimp scampi recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below:

    Butter: I like to use creamy European butter, but any butter will be great.

    Minced garlic: Mince it yourself or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Both work.

    Red pepper flakes: They don't make the dish spicy - they merely add a layer of flavor.

    Large shrimp: Peeled and deveined. I like to use tail-on shrimp simply for aesthetic reasons. If possible, try to use sustainable shrimp. 🦐

    White wine: You can make the dish with or without it. I do feel it enhances the flavor of the sauce.

    Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.

    Fresh lemon juice: Do use freshly-squeezed juice. It makes a difference.

    Chopped parsley: Adds not just a splash of color but also another layer of fresh flavor.


    Wine Pairing Advice: What to Drink With Italian-American Classics

    The Italian-American dishes we've been sharing all week—red sauce (quick or long-cooked), tender meatballs, crisp-crusted chicken parm, creamy Fettuccine Alfredo, gooey baked ziti, and garlicky shrimp scampi—are pretty darn delicious. But there's one more key to the dinner puzzle: the bottle of wine you choose to serve alongside the feast.

    We didn't want to leave your glasses empty, so we turned to a few of our sommelier friends (who happen to work at restaurants like Franny's in Brooklyn and Babbo and Ai Fiori in Manhattan.) Here are their wine pairing tips for your next Italian-American dinner party.

    Spaghetti and Meatballs

    "Dry, juicy Italian reds were what early Italian immigrants once drank with their meatballs and spaghetti. This is Italian jug wine, the kind you get for 3 or 4 Euros (per box, not bottle) at the market in Italy. If it's a little cheap and coarse, that's okay spaghetti became an American staple during the Great Depression. Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Chianti, and Nero d'Avola are my favorites. Piccini and Cecchi make delicious, widely available Chiantis for about 10 bucks a bottle."—Jackson Rohrbaugh (Canlis)

    "I think it's totally criminal to drink anything other than Italian wine with Italian food. They vibe together so well, not just flavor-wise, but also aesthetically. If you drink otherwise, you're kind of blowing the romance. For spaghetti and meatballs (or really most dishes with tomato), it's generally better to look more to the Italian south than the north, like maybe Tuscany and below. And it's a good idea to go with something country but hearty, like a Sangiovese-based Rosso from Umbria (Cantine Adanti makes a great one from Montefalco that is beefed up with the Sagrantino grape), or maybe something from the lesser-known appellation of Biferno, in Molise, whose wines are made from Montepulciano and rustic Aglianico." —Steven Grubbs (Empire State South, Five & Ten)

    "Chianti Classico. Don't go rich and full-bodied: choose one with a more elegant style that will allow the acidity of the tomatoes to shine. Try Montenidoli Chianti Colli Senesi Il Garrulo or Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico." —Francine Stephens (Marco's, Franny's)

    "I tend to choose wines from Tuscany any time there's a light red sauce present. A favorite of mine at the moment is Montevertine Pian Delciampola. I also like wines from Southern Italy for this dish—anything that has bright acidity and some of those stewed tomato qualities—think Aglianico or Sagrantino."—Laura Maniec MS (Corkbuzz Chelsea Market)

    "Tomato is a red fruit, so I am always looking for wines with red fruit flavors to complement tomato sauces. Sangiovese is probably the most classic pairing, but Barbera or a simpler Nebbiolo would be great as well. In Chianti there's been a surge of quality wine in the last few decades. One of my favorite Chianti producers is Caparsa—old school with gorgeous cranberry and cherry flavors and firm tannins to go with the fattiness of the meatballs. If you want to go a bit off the beaten path, look for AR.PE.PE's Rosso di Valtellina—delicate, perfumed Nebbiolo from the far north of Italy."—Raphael Ginsburg (Costata,Ai Fiori)

    Shrimp Scampi

    "This dish calls for a fresh and savory wine—something to cut through the richness of the butter and olive oil but that can also handle the strength of the garlic and match the sweetness of the shrimp. I like to go to Southern Italy with a Fiano di Avellino from Mastroberardino or Feudi di San Gregorio. Wines with texture, spicy and fennel notes that would match the dish perfectly. If going to California, Matthiasson's white blend consists of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Semillon, and Tocai Friulano fruit, generosity, and complexity."—Michaël Engelmann MS (The Modern)

    "Salty, crisp white wines are the key here—with all that fresh, briny shrimp just swimming around in your sauce, you want something clean, rather than an overblown wine that will compete with what is on the plate. The classic option is Vermentino from Liguria—Terre Bianche makes a great one. For something new and different, try the same grape from a New World producer: the Ryme 'Hers' Vermentino is beautifully transparent, and driven by salty, sea spray minerality.—Mia Van de Water (North End Grill)

    "To me, pink foods [like shrimp] seem to go really well with pink wines. I might just like the color pink all over my table, but I'd go with a still rosé here. Something super mineral and screaming with acid so your palate gets swooshed clean after a big bite of garlic and butter. Right now, I'm obsessed with the Domaine Regina Gris de Toul rosé from the Lorraine region in France (way north, sandwiched sort of in between Champagne and Alsace). It's made from mostly Gamay (which surprised me, since Gamay is more commonly known as the grape in Beaujolais, way further south) in this super pale, super bright, and sharp style. Thinking about it makes me crave shrimp scampi. Yum." —Stevie Stacionis (Bay Grape)

    "All that garlic and butter. bring on a dry, lively and crisp white wine! You'll want to lift the dish with the wine—brighten it up—and a white wine from Northern Italy is just the thing. Try a grape called Pigato which is indigenous to Liguria. Its briny lemon, herbs and bright acidity are fabulous with seafood. Colle dei Bardellini is a wonderful producer of Pigato and I LOVE Cascina Feipu Dei Massaretti too."—Susan Brink O'Flaherty (Dominick's, Little Dom's)

    "Garlic can detract from a lot of wines but the combination of white wine and butter allows wines such as Austrian Grüner Veltliner to shine. The wines of Peter Veyder Malberg are clean, dry and powerful. Also Schloss Gobelsburg makes a wonderful value Grüner Veltliner called Gobelsburger that would complement scampi perfectly. The refreshing crisp texture of Sauvignon Blanc from the region of Sancerre would be a lovely combination as well. Alphonse Mellot and Edmund Vatan are some of the top producers in the region." —Michael Scaffidi (Union Square Cafe)

    "Stick to white wine here, and with the garlic, butter and olive oil, it has to be big. Something too lean would be lost. I'd go with a Sicilian white in this case, as shrimp dishes are abundant in this region and the white grapes, Grillo, Cataratto and Carricante are a perfect match. Look for Tami Grillo or Graci Etna Bianco." —Francine Stephens (Marco's, Franny's)

    "I really like Albarino from Rias Baixas, Spain. This coastal region on the Atlantic is known for their pristine seafood, including gambas. I like the salty brine from the Albarino with the garlic and white wine. Try Granbazan Albarino, it's a classic." —Laura Maniec MS (Corkbuzz Chelsea Market)

    "I love the coastal whites of Campania with shrimp scampi. Wines like Fiano, Greco and blends of indigenous varieties from the Amalfi, specifically. The wines generally express subtle tropical fruit and are always balanced by a touch of salinity and minerality that works so well with this dish. A few of my favorites: 2012 San Salvatore Paestum Greco 'Calpazio'. San Salvatore is a biodynamic winery located within a national park in the seaside town of Paestum. 2012 Luigi Maffini Fiano 'Kratos': also from Paestum, Maffini's Fiano has an underlying smokiness that works well with shellfish. 2012 Marisa Cuomo Furore: Marisa Cuomo's winery is in the beautiful town of Ravello on the Amalfi Coast. This is a fresh, stainless steel-only blend of Falanghina and Biancolella." —Francesco Grosso (Marea)

    "I like that lightly spicy style of Pinot Grigio that we find up in the Collio zone of Friuli, in Italy's northeast. They typically have just enough weight to match the richness of the butter component, but that savory/woodsy spice note helps deal with the protein in the shrimp. Marco Felluga's 'Mongris' is awesome, and so is the finer, pricier stuff made by Collio great Schiopetto." —Steven Grubbs (Empire State South, Five & Ten)

    "With most shellfish and crustacean preparations, I look for wines from coastal areas like Liguria. Great, affordable whites that are crisp and herbal. The vineyards for white grapes in Liguria are close to the sea, and although I can't prove this influences the profile of the wines, these wines are distinctly marked with a briny characteristic that works well with the sweet and briny flavors found in shrimp. Try Poggio dei Gorleri 'Cycnus' Pigato. It's mineral and herbaceous, with a salty kick. Or pour Cantina Lunae 'Etichetta Grigia' Vermentino. A touch more fruit in the wine, but still displaying the essence of the sea."—Thomas Kim (Babbo)

    Chicken Parm

    "Look to the red, bubbly classic from Emilia-Romagna: Lambrusco. I would choose one that's on the drier, less fruity side and with just enough tannin to play into the cheese, but not kill the sauce. Among my favorites is the 'Suoli Cataldi' Lambrusco Reggiano from Podere Giardino. Podere Giardino is an organic farm that provides raw milk to the area's Parmigiano producers. Their wine, by design, are greataccompaniments for Italian comfort food and has that classic hint of balsamico and dried berries."—Krista Voisin (Otto)

    "I have to go with sparkling wine as a personal standby when you've got anything fried, since the bubbles and bright acidity slice right through the crispiness and oil. This is a no-holds-barred dish, so I like a no-holds-barred wine, too: rosé Champagne. Chartogne-Taillet's Brut Rosé Champagne will instantly elevate this meal to baller status." —Stevie Stacionis (Bay Grape)

    "Chicken is a lighter meat but since it is breaded here, it is richer. The tomato sauce adds sweetness, acidity and intensity to the dish. I like to play with a Barbera, a lighter red that stands up to the acidity and richness of the dish. Look out for producers like Cavallotto or Vajra. If you are looking for something from California, Palmina makes a great Barbera in Santa Barbara County, a true honest expression of this lovely grape."—Michaël Engelmann MS (The Modern)

    "I would want to go further south here to a few appellations making reds that are surprisingly light on their feet but can still handle tomato (an ingredient that gives many wines fits). Reds from Mount Etna in Sicily spring to mind (like the entry-level Etna Rosso by terrific high-altitude producer Terre Nere), as do the wines from Vittoria on the eastern side of the island (classic producer COS and the 100% Frappato by Centonze are both great options)." —Steven Grubbs (Empire State South, Five & Ten)

    "There are two directions you could go here either a full-bodied white, which will match the chicken but stand up to the tomato sauce, or a light bodied red, again, I wouldn't go too full bodied or serious with the chicken. For the white: choose Verdicchio from the Marche, perhaps the most age worthy of Italian grapes—the Bucci Verdicchio Classico is the perfect example. For a red, try a fun Dolcetto or Barbera from Piedmont—both will be perfect!" —Francine Stephens (Marco's, Franny's)

    "Most people think that you must pair chicken with white wine. Not the case here, although an Italian white like a Soave made with the garganega grape would be lovely. I would recommend a medium bodied red. Sangiovese works beautifully, but why not try a fun wine from near Venice! I love the Corsa Sella Ronda Teroldego. Pronounced terr-all-di-goh, the wine has notes of violets, crushed berries, red plum, earth and a little spice. This wine will add another dimension without taking away from the awesomeness that chicken parm has just on its own! If you live in a small town and don't have access to boutique wine shops that carry a wine like this, try a medium bodied or light red like pinot noir."—Susan Brink O'Flaherty (Dominick's, Little Dom's)

    "You can go one of two ways with chicken parm. You can stick with classic Italian wines like Brunello Di Montalcino—the tannin in the wine will cut through the fat and the cheese, while still keeping with the complementary flavors of the tomato. As an alternative, for a more 'out there' paring, you might consider trying rosé Champagne. Since the chicken is fried, you want something with bubbles to cut it—and you need a rich Champagne for tomato and cheese. A producer to try is Paul Bara their rosé is delicious." —Laura Maniec MS (Corkbuzz Chelsea Market)

    Fettuccine Alfredo

    "One of the major keys to successful food and wine pairing is the matching of weight and texture—you don't want the dish to overwhelm the wine, or vice versa! Once cream sauce is on the table, it needs to figure first in your considerations you want a wine with equal richness and creaminess of texture (but balanced, of course!). Try a Chardonnay from the central coast of California—Sandhi's Santa Barbara bottling is terrific."—Mia Van de Water (North End Grill)

    "Man, I love this dish. It became my comfort-food standby in college, right around the time I (and the rest of America) was obsessed with Pinot Grigio. I have to say, the pairing still works like a charm and still makes me feel really safe, comfy, and happy. I think the reason it works together is because neither of them are super bold but rather soft, easy, and subtly flavored. There's a really pretty peach and melon component to a good Pinot Grigio, along with this slightly bitter almond note that works beautifully with the sweet creaminess of the pasta—especially if you put just a dash of nutmeg in your sauce like I do. Right now, the Scarpetta Pinot Grigio is my favorite. It's made by Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and his chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson from Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder. It has more complexity and prettiness than a lot of Pinot Grigios, and is so versatile with food." —Stevie Stacionis (Bay Grape)

    "I look for a white wine with a gentle richness to match the rich creamy sauce. A Chardonnay that is not too oaky would be great a Macon from Dominique Cornin or from Copain in Mendocino would match is very well. A chardonnay from the Jura, from Bornard or Tournelle would go well with the creamy, cheesy richness of the dish."—Michaël Engelmann MS (The Modern)

    "Believe it or not, I think with rich sauces such as Alfredo, you need a big red with a lot of tannin. I know it doesn't seem right because of the lack of protein in the dish, but the richness of the sauce really cuts through the tannin in the dish. Northern Rhone Syrah from regions like Cote Rotie or Crozes Hermitage have a lot of savory pepper notes and richness to match the dish, but also cut through the fat." —Laura Maniec MS (Corkbuzz Chelsea Market)

    "A light to medium bodied red would be great with the creaminess and richness of this dish. A Rosso di Montalcino from Tuscany or a Lagrein from the Alto Adige would be amazing!" —Francine Stephens (Marco's, Franny's)

    "This creamy dish a crisp sparkling wine is a great match. Prosecco comes to mind. Look for Ruggeri Prosecco, it's delicious."—Dennis Perry (Peninsula Grill)

    "The dish I grew fat on as a kid! I'd highlight the creamy nature of the dish and balance it with acidity (the key to all Italian whites). Going north to Alto Adige will ensure the wine has acidity and Terlano produces wines that are both rich and acidic. I love the Terlano 'Nova Domus' Sauvignon Blanc—the wine is rich without being over the top."—Jeffrey Porter (Del Posto)

    "Decadent, rich, silky cream is a great excuse to break out some bubbles. The Il Mosnel Franciacorta Rosé is a brut sparkler that rises to the occasion. Made from mostly pinot nero and barrel-fermented chardonnay, you get hints of crisp strawberry, brioche, white pepper."—Krista Voisin (Otto)

    "One option: Chardonnay from northern Italy. This would cut through the heaviness and richness of the cream sauce really nicely while complimenting the buttery creaminess at the same time. I love the producer Elio Grasso from the Langhe region of Piedmont, Italy (remember the Olympics at Torino? Same neck of the woods.) Otherwise, try an Italian red with serious tannin. If you can break the bank, try a Barolo or Barbaresco, which are styles of wine made from the Nebbiolo grape, named for the famous sub regions they come from in Piedmont. You can find a less expensive nebbiolo that is from outside of these sub regions and it would be easier on the wallet without compromising your palate. A hint with the grape nebbiolo: it needs to open up! If you are faced with a newer vintage, break out the decanter (or any pitcher you have on hand) and let some oxygen in."—Susan Brink O'Flaherty (Dominick's, Little Dom's)

    "With Fettuccine Alfredo my favorite pairing is a white Burgundy, specifically, a Puligny Montrachet. Puligny-Montrachet is simply a wine made from Chardonnay that comes from the town of Puligny within Burgundy, France. When I ponder a pairing, I consider the major flavors and textures: in this case the creamy sauce will be the dominant characteristic. I find that White Burgundy works with these style of dish because its minerality and acidity will shine and cut some of the creaminess of the sauce allowing the palate to be refreshed after each sip (it's like eating a bit of ginger between bites of sushi). Chardonnay, traditionally, also goes through a proccess of malolactic fermentation. This is a process that changes the acid in the grapes from harsh malo acid to creamy lactic acid. The wonderful lactic acid will compliment the creamy texture of the alfredo sauce. A few of my favorite producers in the region are Roulot, Leflaive, and Pierre Yves Colin Morey." —Colin Thoreen (Ai Fiori)

    Baked Ziti

    "With a simple classic like baked ziti, you shouldn't overthink pairings. In northern Italy, just south of Switzerland, the Nebbiolo-based wines from Valtellina are made for richer dishes. With bright acidity, they clean the palate after each bite, match the sweet soaring acidity of the tomatoes, and cut through the heavier cheese elements of the dish. Producers such as Sandro Fay, Arpepe and Nino Negri make some excellent and affordable Valtellinas." —Victoria James (Marea)

    "Oven-roasting boosts the sweetness in this dish, and endears it to a ripe red wine. An elegant, dark-fruited red from Valpolicella can boost the sweetness of the onion and tomato in this dish. Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella or Giuseppe Quintarelli's Primofiore blend would be great, and the robust ripeness of Perrin et Fils 'Les Christins' Vacqueyras would be great for a non-Italian pairing."—Jackson Rohrbaugh (Canlis)

    "My gut pairing is to go straight to Sicily with this. This American-Ital classic leans on the concentrated sweetness of the tomato sauce and the fattiness of the cheeses. I would want a wine that shows ample fruit—on the red-fruit side of the spectrum (think strawberries, raspberries, tart cherries), some with some earthiness and no new oak. COS and Gulfi both make a Cerasuolo di Vittoria (a blend of Nero d'Avola and Frappato) that would rock with this dish."—Jeffrey Porter (Del Posto)

    "A pinot noir from California would be wonderful: seek out Tyler, Hirsch, or Failla."—Michaël Engelmann MS (The Modern)

    "Keep it classic with some Sangiovese-based wines. Tomato and Sangiovese are natural pals—the grape tends to make wines that even smell a little like tomato paste or tomato leaves—and their natural acidity helps deal with the potent acid of the tomato. Wines from one of the Chianti zones (Villa di Zano makes a terrific, open style of Chianti Classico) or something from one of the other Tuscan zones, like a Rosso di Montalcino (Vitanza's is terrific), should make a nice match." —Steven Grubbs (Empire State South, Five & Ten)

    "To mix things up a little bit, try a Rioja from Spain. Make sure to stick with the lighter styles of Rioja: look for Crianza on the label. You could also go with Italian reds from Tuscany. Choose something that's light enough in body, but has some acidity and tannin." —Laura Maniec MS (Corkbuzz Chelsea Market)


    Wine and food pairings 6: Louisiana-style shrimp boil

    My adventures in south Louisiana as a young newspaperman taught me more about the world than I will ever be able to explain. Like a shrimp boil.

    I’m 23 years old and the only thing I know about shrimp is that they’re served only on special occasions, maybe once a year. And that they’re boiled in salted water, and if they taste rubbery and bland, that’s OK, because they’re served only on special occasions. And then another reporter took me to Gino’s in Houma, La.

    It was a revelation. This was food, and not Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks. This was not something for a special occasion, but something people ate regularly. It opened my mind to the idea of food that wasn’t what I grew up with, and that opened my mind to the idea of other cultures, and that made it possible to open my mind to wine. And I’m not the only one who experienced this kind of revelation: The same thing happened to Julia Child when she went to a boil at Emeril Lagasse’s house.

    There are really only two rules for a shrimp boil. Everything else is a suggestion, and any recipe is just a guideline. First, use shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico and avoid imported shrimp at all costs. The latter have as much flavor as Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks. Second, use the boxed pouch seasoning called crab boil from Zatarain’s or Louisiana Fish Fry. And make sure the boxes are nowhere near their expiration date otherwise, all their flavor is gone. Both companies make other styles of seasoning, but this is the easiest to use. And the less said about Old Bay (which is mostly celery salt), the better.

    Click here to download or print a PDF of the recipe. No red wine with a shrimp boil — there’s no way to get the flavors right:

    • St. Hilaire Crémant de Limoux Brut NV ($13, purchased, 12%): This French sparkling wine from the Languedoc, mostly chardonnay but also chenin blanc and mauzac, is crisp and bubbly, with pear and apple fruit. Exactly what the shrimp needs. Highly recommended. Imported by Esprit du Vin

    • Celler de Capçanes Mas Donís Rosato 2018 ($11, purchased, 13%): This Spanish pink is a little soften than I expected, but that’s because it’s made with garnacha. But it’s still well worth drinking — fresh, ripe red fruit (cherry?), and an almost stony finish. Imported by European Cellars

    • Hay Maker Sauvignon Blanc 2018 ($10, sample, 12.5%): The marketing on this Big Wine brand from New Zealand is more than a little goofy –“hand crafted goodness,” whatever that means. But the wine itself is spot on — New Zealand citrus, but not overdone a little something else in the middle to soften the citrus and a clean and refreshing finish. Imported by Accolade Wines North America