This pasta is on the lighter side, despite its touch of heavy cream. Its primary ingredients, scallops and zucchini, taste of the sea and a summer garden, so light- to medium-bodied wines are what you need for a good pairing. With scallops having inherent sweetness like the cream, this dish needs a wine with nicely ripe, but not overly rich, fruit. Jammy, goopy fruit would smoother this pasta and clash with the zucchini.
In the white wine category, I suggest Orvieto. Hailing from landlocked Umbria, Orvieto has ripe pit fruit flavors, like peach and yellow plum, and is usually free of new oak. That is perfect for this dish. Moreover, Orvieto is typically grown on volcanic soils, which give a light savory edge to wines’ finish, offering a contrast to the scallops and a link to the green zucchini flavors.
Rather than a red, I suggest a rosato for this dish. The tannins in red wines don’t mesh well with most seafood, and that is especially true of shellfish. Sticking with the theme of nicely ripe styles of wines, look for rosatos from central or southern Italy. The grape varieties are less important than their provenance, and there can often be an exotic blend of varieties. In addition to looking for rosatos from warmer areas of Italy, like the ones suggested here, look for wines made in a crisp, fresh style. Rosés are a playground of creativity for winemakers, and some do use oak (whether new or neutral) on their wines. To keep the flavors as focused and as fresh as those found in this pasta, seek out wines that see only stainless steel before bottling. While some rosatos age well, the style best for this dish is fresh.
Master of Wine (MW)
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