Why Sauvignon Blanc Is The Best Drink To Pair With Scallops

One of life's best delicacies is arguably the scallop. Whether it's seared in butter and garnished with just a few salt flakes and parsley, or served in a zesty seafood ceviche, scallops bring unparalleled meatiness, richness, and saltiness to any dish. But because these are such delicate morsels, they can easily be overwhelmed by certain beverages. That's why it's important to choose a wine that will complement and accentuate their flavor without stealing the show. Many types of white wines would work well with scallops, as they tend to be less robust than many red wines and more balanced than some rosés — but there's one varietal in particular that is perfect with scallops every time. Chardonnay is often recommended, but sauvignon blanc is hands down the ultimate pairing for scallops. 

Sauvignon blanc wine is made from its namesake grape varietal, which was originally cultivated in Bordeaux, France. Now, sauvignon blanc is made throughout the world, in places such as New Zealand, California, and Chile, with each region producing its own take on the classic white wine. But there are some key flavor notes that extend throughout pretty much all sauv blancs. They are most often categorized as having pronounced citrus fruit notes, often with tart green apple or more tropical pineapple coming through. They also have a fair balance of earthy minerality and more herbaceous, grassy aromas that enhance the scallop-eating experience. 

A sauvignon blanc for every scallop

Of course, there are seemingly endless ways to prepare scallops, and some regions' sauvignon blancs may be better suited to your dish than others. Keep in mind that the purpose of a wine pairing is not to perfectly match the flavors of the dish, but to provide balance and enhance certain flavors. For instance, if you're preparing classic seared scallops in butter, garlic, and lemon, you can't do better than a bottle from New Zealand. New Zealand's sauvignon blanc is characterized by its pleasant acidity with flavor notes of lemon zest, ripe citrus fruit, and green vegetables. The sharp flavors of this wine will cut against the richness of the buttered, caramelized scallops. 

If you're enjoying scallops more simply as sashimi dressed in soy sauce and a little rice vinegar, you'll want something still with plenty of acidity but subtler fruit notes. Loire, France sauvignon blancs fit this bill nicely as "old world" wines, which tend to be less full-bodied and with tasting notes of lemongrass, lime, and melon. For scallop dishes that already have high acidity, such as a simple citrusy ceviche, opt for a sauvignon blanc with plenty of herbaceous notes and minerality. Try wines from Friuli, Italy, which have notes of herbs, white pepper, and salt.