The Expert-Approved Way To Pair Wine With Pan-Seared Scallop Dishes

scallops in cast iron
scallops in cast iron - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

The beauty of a pan-seared scallop is the incredible combination of the soft, sweet meat of the scallop, and the crisp outer crust from the sear. This makes for a textural and flavorful experience that deserves celebration. An easy way to elevate this dining experience is by pairing your dish with a drink that will bring out the flavors of the scallop. Tasting Table recently had the opportunity to talk to Scott Mattson, Co-Owner and Sommelier at Nocturne, who shared his opinion on the best wine to pair with a pan-seared scallop.

Mattson notes that part of what makes this cooking method of scallops so delicious is the work of the Maillard reaction. This scientific event gives seared dishes a caramelized, brown outer crust, and creates the addictive aroma of food cooking. Mattson pairs wine with this dish based on that reaction and what will best highlight its flavors.

"Wines that best pair with this method are rich, dense oaky white Burgundies from places like Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, or Volnay -- especially if you can find one with a little age," says Mattson. "For a wild and earthier option, a high-quality Savagnin from the Jura region would be a great pick -- these wines will typically have wonderful oxidation, which gives it a caramel and nutty flavor on the finish that marries well with that Maillard reaction."

Read more: 15 Different Ways To Cook Fish

Other Wines To Pair With Seared Scallops

glasses cheering
glasses cheering - Robert Daly/Getty Images

You can apply Mattson's reasoning for choosing other wines to pair with seared scallops. Mattson suggests two earthy, drier white wines as his first choice for this dish, but if you aren't a white wine fan, don't panic. There are still options you can try. A light-bodied red such as a Beaujolais wine works with delicate seafood. Beaujolais tend to have fruitier notes that complement the sweetness of the scallop while the savory, spice aspects of the wine react well with the Maillard reaction.

You could also try sparkling wine. Sparkling wine would be an interesting pairing for this, particularly a dry Prosecco because the bubbly texture would emphasize the slight crunch of the crust of the scallop. Prosecco is a surprisingly versatile wine that can be used for a variety of situations. This wine is still mild enough to let the seafood shine and not overpower the dish. Plus, sparkling wine gives a heightened sense of formality to a meal, even if it's not necessarily Champagne. A dry Prosecco has an almost refreshing quality to it that makes for a light yet satisfying meal.

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