Food & Wine

Paired Perfectly: Best Wine with Scallops

Scallops in the Summertime

As the summer heat begins to suffocate us, all I can think about is being near the sea drinking wine with scallops. Cool ocean breezes, sparkling sea spray, and salty maritime air appear like the ideal tonic for a sticky California summer.

What’s more beachy than scallops, grilled to perfection and served on a bed of fresh greens?

Scallops are a kind of bivalve, a class of mollusk that includes oysters, clams, and mussels.

Because scallops are only able to thrive in highly saline water, they may be found at great depths of the sea. There are no “freshwater scallops.”

The adductor muscle, which is solely consumed, is utilized to open and close the shell. That’s why it feels so meaty.

Sustainable and environmentally friendly

One of the healthiest seafood selections is one of your favorites.

The majority of sea scallops in the United States are harvested off the East Coast, primarily Massachusetts and Maine.

The best time to buy scallops is right before or during their peak harvesting season, which runs from October to March.

Off-season scallops may have travelled a long way and lost much of their flavor. You’re looking for plump scallops that smell fresh, not fishy.

To ensure your scallops are as fresh as possible, ask your fishmonger when they were harvested and try to buy them within two days of harvest.

When it comes to buying seafood, always remember the rule: “The fresher the better.”

Scallops are high in protein, with an approximate protein content of over 80%. (This might be important to note for Keto dieters.)

They’re also extremely low in fat, which makes them an excellent choice for anyone watching their calorie intake. They’re not only delicious, but they’re also a healthy seafood alternative since they are responsibly harvested, especially in the United States. The scallop species we consume aren’t on the endangered species list.

So, without fear, enjoy your meals!

wine with scallops

Sea Scallops vs. Bay Scallops

A note on the distinction between bay and sea scallops, since you may find yourself confronted with a selection when planning your seafood banquet.

Sea Scallops

  • It’s not true that large scallops marked “wild” are wild. In reality, they’re farmed in ponds called bays by the sea, where you’ll find them on ice. The tiny scallop is often cultivated for human consumption.
  • Sea scallops can be found in Japan, South America, New Zealand, Ireland, and Canada.
  • The taste of sea scallop meat is chewy and sweet, with a slight saltiness.
  • Season: Diver scallops can be taken at any time of year.
  • Poaching, Searing, and Grilling are all delicious ways to prepare scallops.

Bay Scallops

  • In general, bay scallops dwell in shallower water and are smaller, ranging from 4 to 6 inches long. The adductor muscle might range in size from a half inch to an inch.
  • Bay scallops are found on the east coast of the United States, most often in New Jersey or Florida.
  • Bay scallop meat is more delicate, tender, and sweet than that of sea scallops.
  • Bay scallops are found in the Northern Hemisphere during the summer and fall.
  • Poaching or fast sautéing are the best methods for cooking.

The majority of farm-raised scallops now come from China.

A Quick Note on Scallops That Are Wet vs. Dry

I’m not sure whether you’ve ever gone shopping at a fish market, but I’m sure you’ve seen the indications for “wet” or “dry” scallops. This is a straightforward description of how they were stored for shelf life.

Wet scallops are treated with a solution of water and sodium tripolyphosphate to keep them moist and preserve their shelf life.

This has never before been done with dry scallops. They are (and taste) fresher, and they have less water weight.

In most cases, purchasing dry scallops is the superior option. If not brined, wet scallops might have an unpleasant aftertaste.

Basic Wine Tips for Pairing with Scallops

  • Scallops are a large and strong-tasting shellfish with a wonderfully delicate flavor for a meaty mollusk. The flavor is comparable to lobster, but it’s more buttery and sweet.
  • More delicate than mussels or clams, they are milder and more delicate. You may (and should) eat them raw, like other shellfish!
  • Scallops, due to their delicate nature, should not be served with bold wines, deep full-bodied reds, or anything high in tannins.
  • They taste wonderful with any variety of white wine, and they go particularly well with sparkling wines. (Even a mild Chardonnay works well since scallops have a creamy texture. If you’re preparing scallops in a cream sauce, don’t forget the Chardonnay!)
  • Scallops can handle some stronger tastes, such as bacon or raspberry glaze. A rose, for example, or a light-bodied red would go great with those kinds of dishes!

Best White Wines with Scallops

The bright, tangy wines highlight the meat’s summery flavor and textural richness.

Scallops are an excellent source of lean protein, and they’re also a great way to add fun flavor to your meals. Because you may cook scallops in so many ways, you’ll be able to find a white that compliments any recipe!

There’s nothing quite like a chilled Sauvignon Blanc with a delicately cooked scallop. The herb-tinted wine goes well with sea foods rich in saltiness. Elizabeth Spencer creates a pleasant and fruity white wine. There is plenty of acidity, ripe fruit, and pear in this blend of lemon and grapefruit. Ginger and minerals give this beverage an Asian twist! This bottle should be kept on hand for any summer parties you may host. It’ll undoubtedly be the hit of the occasion!

White Wine from Rutherford, California. The flavor has a bright, quenching acidity and provides structure for tropical fruits, apricot, and a citrus mélange with just the right hint of minerality to offer an intriguing contrast.

Rías Baixas white wine from Spain. This wine has a bright orange acidity that comes up behind the peaches and cream flavors. It’s as rich as meringue, and a little warm with alcohol, so shellfish in a cream sauce is required to balance out its weight.

Spain’s red wines, especially in the summertime, are quite appealing. Ophalum is a really excellent Albariño, and you wouldn’t even think it was less than $20! It’s tart and dry with notes of pear, lemon, and peach peeking through.

Ophalum comes from Spain’s Rías Baixas coast, where shellfish are also harvested. The saline air currents trapped inside the bottle give off hints of salinity and brine as they drift by. This is an exquisite wine to match with scallops to bring out all of the briny tastes while still balancing richness.

This 100% alvarinho is a complex red with excellent balance and style. It has citrus, green apple, and floral notes with a tropical character. It is full-bodied and voluminous on the tongue, with a bright fresh acidity. Ideal when served cold.

Vinho Verde is a zesty, bright wine from Portugal that bursts with enthusiasm and flavor. It’s the ideal wine to sip by the water or while contemplating the ocean…or simply in your apartment thinking about it. Alvarinho is a Vinho Verde produced in Portugal that has strong apple, peach, and pineapple undertones. The acidity is always sharp and piercing, however it’s tempered by lemony nuances. It’s ideal for combining citrus scallops or cutting rich tastes like garlic.

Scallops with Reds and Rosé Wines

Rosé goes with everything.

If you’re searching for a wine to go with a more substantial scallop dish, try a rosé or a light-bodied red.

The scent of grapefruit and blooms gives way to a smooth, clean, and fresh palate with notes of raspberry, red currant, and lemon zest. While it is enhanced by acidity, Côte des Roses finishes with mineral and herb undertones that make it ideal for seafood companion.

Rosé wine from Languedoc, France. A bottle to present in the same manner as a bouquet of roses!

Deep, bright red wine from the Willamette Valley in the United States. Fresh red berry and rose oil scents pick up suggestions of cola and allspice as the wine opens up. On the palate, silky and smooth with bitter cherry and raspberry flavors enlivened by a mild spicy component.

On the nose, black raspberries, walnuts, and red cherries explode. The wine has a medium body with undertones of plum and cherry followed by the lightest suggestion of chocolate. Though from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this red has an Old World Burgundy flavor to it. Despite being low in tannins but high in acidity, this is a red that can be consumed with seafood. However , be careful not to combine it with too rich or hearty dishes since you’ll overpower the scallops!

The Mirabelle Brut Rosé is a handcrafted blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Schramsberg’s select cool-climate vineyards in California’s Carneros, Anderson Valley, and the Sonoma and Marin coastal areas. Pinot Noir lots, including a few that were fermented with skin contact, offer berry fruit brightness and body, whereas Chardonnay lots provide length and zest to the taste.

More expensive than the alternatives on our list, but it’s worth it if you’re going for a luxury bite. (And c’mon, you’re eating scallops, so why not?) This is a beautiful vintage made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that glimmers with delicate strawberries, crisp red apples, and crimson currants. Fruity notes abound, yet the wine is extremely dry. To highlight fruit flavors, serve this accompanied by scallops in a red or berry sauce.

Sparkling Wines for Scallops

Many people are aware that seafood, especially shellfish, goes well with sparkling wine. The relationship is completely natural due to the high acidity in most sparkling wines, which allows seafood dishes to sing.

Pergolo Prosecco Doc Brut

A beautiful, delicate prosecco with the subtler scallop flavors shining through. Pergolo was crafted in Italy’s Mionetto at Nelle Cantine di Crocetta del Montello. The colder temperatures in northern Italy bring out the citrus notes while only hinting at a sweeter melon note. Pergolo has a crisp acidity but is light on alcohol. Lemon and green pears blended together with a creamy scallop? What a pleasure to drink!

Sparkling wine from Cava, Spain. Toast aromas mingle with bright white fruits. The wine is light and vibrant on the tongue.

The winery of Avinyó has been working the vineyard estate since 990AD. They are still expertly producing top quality alternatives to Champagne over a millennium later. This Cava is made from Parellada, Xarel-lo, and Macabeo grapes, which have all been cultivated in the area for at least 500 years. They’re fermented, aged in oak barrels, then aged on the lees before being bottled. The taste of this beverage complements seafood beautifully thanks to its golden apple notes, lemon zest accent, and mineral aftertaste.

It’s difficult to locate a low-cost, quality Champagne these days, particularly if you want to truly taste it. Crémant de Jura has succeeded in doing so! This bone-dry Chardonnay Champagne is exclusively produced from 100% Chardonnay grapes. There are distinct flavors of beaten apples and uplifting minerals, which are true to the variety. Pear and flower aromas follow. It may go well with both scallops in sauce as well as delicate seared fish.

Interesting Facts About Scallops:

  • They have 50-100 blue eyes surrounding their shells’ rims. These enable them to detect shade and movement. The human cornea is quite similar in function.
  • The rings on their shells represent one year of growth, much like tree trunks. The most significant events in a scallop’s life may be identified by looking at its shell.
  • Because they are unable to completely seal their shells, they must dwell far beneath the surface of the sea in high-salt water.
  • Scallops are the only bivalve that can swim. They accomplish this by rapidly opening and closing their shells, releasing water in the process.
  • Scallops are hermaphrodites and reproduce by spawning.
  • Scallops are divided into two genders. Male scallops are white, while female ones are red.
  • Scallops, like other bivalves, feed on krill, plankton, and algae. As a result, their shells may be of diverse colors.

Scallop Recipe and Pairing:

Simple Seared Scallops Recipe

If you’re new to scallops or just want a simple supper, this is the dish for you. Scallops have a distinctive taste that pairs well with many different flavors and spices.


  • 1 lb. dry diver scallops
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Smoked paprika (optional)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges for serving (optional)


  1. Remove the abductor from the shell. (If this wasn’t done at your fish market)
  2. In a sauté pan, combine the butter and oil over medium heat. Turn the burners to high.
  3. Season your scallops lightly on both sides. (Believe it or not, I’m talking about LIGHTLY.)
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the scallops and fry for about 2 minutes, or until they’re golden brown on both sides.
  5. When you’re done with the frying, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Remove them and let rest for at least 1 hour before eating. (Don’t overcook them or they’ll be like rubber.)

Remove from heat and serve over steamed asparagus. Over each scallop, spoon a little extra fat.

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops Recipe

Jumbo scallops bathed in a sweet and delicious glaze before broiling to perfection make these bacon-wrapped scallops an elegant appetizer or main course choice that’s guaranteed to please!

Bacon has a way of making everything taste better. Scallops are wonderful on their own, but when you top them in bacon, you get decadent little morsels that are ideal for any event.


  • 2 pounds large sea scallops patted dry
  • 1 pound bacon slices cut in half crosswise
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • cooking spray


  1. Preheat the broiler. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Wrap a slice of bacon around each scallop and secure with a toothpick. Arrange the scallops in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Combine the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small dish. Brush half of the mixture over each scallop.
  4. Turn on the Broiler. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and the scallops are cooked through. Brush any remaining sauce over the scallops midway through cooking.
  5. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Wine Pairing with Simple Seared Scallops and Bacon Wrapped Scallops Recipes

Simple white wine is a great complement to scallops. Sancerre is a wonderful match for any seafood meal, and I adore the mix of Sauvignon Blanc flavors with a sweet delicate scallop. (Plus: If you’re going for a different cooking style, you may also cook scallops in this wine.)

A fresh fruit scent, like the citrus in this case, complements scallops extremely well. A light fruity flavor of white currants and grapefruit rounds out the complexity for a summery sip. For a creamier scallop experience, the somewhat buttery finish is ideal!

Frequently Asked Questions About Scallops

What wine pairs well with scallops?

When cooking scallops, you can choose from numerous wines. The most common ones used with scallops are White wine, Bordeaux, and Pinot Noir, depending on the dish or sauces you intend to add.

What wine flavor would complement Scallops?

Sauvignon blanc is a wonderful wine to match with scallops since it has fruity and herbal characteristics, as well as sparkling Chardonnay, which has a dry and sweet flavor.

What is the best white wine to drink with scallops?

Aside from just drinking high-quality wine, you may also add some to the dish to enhance the scallops’ flavor and the finest choices are wines with high acidities, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, and dry sparkling wine.

Final Thoughts

Scallops are one of the most delectable shellfish. Sweet, delicate, and tender…the epitome of summer! Their meatier flesh is versatile, so play around with different recipes. Wine or champagne is always a safe bet. However, you may go more rogue if you add extra spices to your dish. It’s ultimately up to you and what’s on your menu in the end!

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