Editor's Note: In the spirit of this month's issue, columnist Angela Ortmann is pairing wines and beers with Italian dishes around town.


Frank Papa's Shrimp Scampi, $19.95

Italian cuisine often conjures up images of hearty meals with robust flavors. But what about the more delicate dishes?

A dish such as Frank Papa's shrimp scampi begs for wine pairings that focus more heavily on the ingredients of the sauce, in this case, garlic and butter, rather than the seafood itself. Frank Papa's also uses a touch a mustard for the restaurant’s cream sauce, providing another level of distinct flavor for the dish.



Frei Brothers Chardonnay Reserve, Sonoma, Calif., $10 by the glass

When pairing a wine to the food, always consider the main component of the flavor profile of the dish. In this case: butter. A California Chardonnay becomes a natural match. The crisp flavors inherent to Chardonnay are an ideal set for seafood, but it is the rich and round oakiness that we are looking for here. Not only does the wine bring out the lush and silky butter, but it also allows the prominent garlic notes of the shrimp to be tamed ever so slightly.

Barone Fini Pinot Grigio, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy, $8 by the glass

Every restaurant's shrimp scampi is going to be a little different, as every chef has his or her own take on this classic fare. I noticed right away that Frank Papa's uses a decent amount if pepper in the restaurant's rendition, as well as the notable mustard in the sauce. The combination of spice with the powerful garlic could not be denied and therefore inspired my next pairing. Pinot Grigio, while often light and sippable, has extreme pairing possibilities. Juicy fruit flavors work well with stronger notes such as garlic, mustard and pepper. The wine's lively acidity also awakens the freshness of the shrimp and revitalizes your palate with every sip.

Villa Pozzi Nero D'Avola, Sicily, $7 by the glass

Red wine might not be the first thought that comes to mind for shrimp scampi, but when chosen correctly, it will work. Hefty garlic flavors become the defining characteristic in this pairing. A red wine that has a jammy fruitiness but soft tannins is your best bet. Nero d'Avola from Sicily is an excellent choice due to its seductive notes of dark fruit and subtle earthiness.

Frank Papa's, 2241 S. Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood, frankpapas.com

STLwinegirl Angela Ortmann gained a passion for all things epicurean by working in the luxury restaurants and hotels of St. Louis and San Francisco. Through her event and consultation business, she is dedicated to enhancing your food and wine experience.