The Hamptons has endless ways to enjoy clams, but what’s the best wine to enjoy with those tasty mollusks? That all depends on the clams, of course. Whether you’re up for some littlenecks on the half shell or a big ol’ clam bake, we have the perfect pairing.
Raw Clams—Muscadet is perhaps the quintessential pairing, as the light, acidic, briny nature of the wine is a perfect complement. Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc), Dry Furmint or Assrytiko would be excellent options as well.
Baked Clams—Gavi, Arneis or Pinot Grigio. Lighter style, un-oaken Italian white will pair with the lemony, garlicky nature of baked clams.
New England Clam Chowder—Oaked, higher-alcohol Chardonnay from California will provide the weight and complexity to stand-up to a rich, cream-based soup. Alternative options would be Champagne/Sparkling Wine, whose mousse will pair texturally well with the mouthfeel of the thick viscosity of the soup, yet whose acidity will cut through cream to provide for a nice contrast. For you more adventurous souls, try a nice glass of Manzanilla Sherry— great acidity, and a hint of the ocean to coax the sea out of the clams.
Manhattan Clam Chowder—Savignon Blanc or perhaps Pinot Gris, as the light, acidic nature would pair well with the tomato-driven broth. You could perhaps venture toward a lighter style Pinot Noir from Oregon if looking to pair a red.
Fried Clams—Option one is beer. If that’s not readily available of the wine police are on patrol, try a Cava or Vinho Verde—the acidity and effervescence will help cut through the weight of the fried coating.
Clam Bake—A potpourri of flavors and textures to work with—from the sweet and buttery lobster and corn, to the starchy potato to the briny clams and mussels— requires a versatile wine. The first pick would be a medium-bodied, lightly oaked, concentrated yet finesse-driven Chardonnay, perhaps a Chassagne Montrachet. Texturally, great mouthfeel, weight and flavor composition to pair with the lobster (with or without butter) while the vibrant acidity and minerality would serve to complement the clams and mussels.
“Wine Pairing of the Week: Clams All Around” is brought to you by Bouy One Seafood Restaurant and Market in Riverhead, where you can enjoy clams of all kinds and other fresh seafood.