The weather has been so cold and soggy in California that my family has been craving rich soups and brawny roasts. As much as I love hearty winter food, the waistline can take only so much. One of my favorite cold-weather compromise dishes is shrimp scampi. I make a version that’s light on butter and draws most of its flavor from garlic, lemon and wine. Good-quality shrimp is crucial, of course. Wild shrimp is more expensive but it’s worth it. (Besides, shrimp farms are wrecking eco-havoc in Asia.)
I like a full-bodied California Chardonnay with my scampi, and I often look for a value, since the wild shrimp is such an investment. Recently, the Souverain Alexander Valley 2008 proved a nice fit with the meal. The white was vibrant and fresh, yet creamy and toasty, with intense flavors of spicy lemon and peach. I rated it 89 points, non-blind, and it’s a bargain at $17.