Pairing food and wine can bring out subtle flavors that often go unnoticed when enjoyed separately. To make the most of your next seafood dinner, try pairing your favorite dish with a wine that complements its flavor profile.

Shrimp Scampi and Chardonnay

Shrimp scampi that has been prepared in butter, garlic, and lemon juice has a slightly spicy taste. A white wine sauce tames the flavor somewhat, but fresh shrimp will still come through clearly.

Chardonnay adds complexity to the flavor of shrimp scampi. Make sure you choose a Chardonnay from France instead of California, Australia, or Chile. Chardonnays from those regions taste fine, but France’s Burgundy region has a climate that gives grapes a leaner taste that will not overpower your shrimp dish.

Raw Oysters and Sauvignon Blanc

wine and oysters pairing

Image via Flickr by jmdillree

Raw oysters have a fatty, sweet taste that pairs well with the bright, fruity flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc. Look for a Sauvignon Blanc that has lemon or lime flavors. These will bring out the sweetness of the oysters. Combined with the right wine, you can forgo cocktail sauce. A dash of herbs and a squirt of lemon, however, will add to your experience.

If you aren’t sure what type of oysters you like best, consider getting an oyster sampler kit from Lobster Place. The sample kit includes a dozen each of three oyster varieties. The types of oysters offered change weekly so you get the freshest options available. If you already have a favorite or know that you want to try something new, you can make a special request.

Dungeness Crab and Brut Sparkling Wine

Dungeness crabs, which live off the coast of Washington, have an extremely tender flesh with a mild, sweet flavor. The meat has enough flavor that very little preparation is needed. Just drop it in boiling salt water for about 15 minutes and add a little butter and herbs if desired. A brut sparkling wine goes well with Dungeness crab because it is the sweetest form of sparkling wine. The carbonation also accentuates the meat’s tenderness.

Scallops and Sancerre Blanc

Scallops have a strong taste that will overpower most wines. Sancerre blanc, however, has a sweet, intense flavor that is confident enough to share a table with even the best scallops. It is a pairing for diners who love bold tastes. When choosing a wine for your scallops, try to choose a Sancerre blanc. The rose Sancerre wines are made from pinot noir grapes that have a lighter flavor. It’s not a terrible combination, but the scallops will dominate the flavor conversation. A Sancerre blanc won’t fall victim to the scallop’s intensity.

Caviar and Champagne

Caviar and champagne are an obvious after-dinner combination. Unfortunately, many people never think to enjoy champagne with dinner. Practically any dish that includes caviar goes well with champagne, even if the roe has been used in conjunction with fish. Champagne’s sweetness counters the saltiness of caviar, making the food even more delectable.

Having the right wine will improve the flavor of your food whether you’re dining in a restaurant or having a meal at home. Which pairing do you look forward to most?