Spaghetti alle Vongole is a classic Italian dish of spaghetti with white wine and clams and pairs best with unoaked white wines such as Soave, Vermentino, Pinot Grigio, Chablis, Muscadet, or Frascati. A dry Rosé also makes for a good pairing, provided it is more citrus-driven than fruity (strawberries and raspberries don’t taste great with clams). Stay clear of red wines, which will taste metallic when paired up with the briny clams.
Pinot Grigio & Spaghetti alle Vongole Pairing
I give Pinot Grigio the highest rating for pairing with Pasta Vongole simply because it is the most accessible and familiar white wine on my list. I do feel some of the other wines will pair better, however, they may not be offered by the glass at a restaurant or available to buy in your area.
When choosing, pick an Italian Pinot Grigio, which will be dry, light and crisp with flavours of apple and citrus. Pinot Gris from France will be off-dry (a little sweet) and bolder in its fruit flavours.
Recipes vary for Spaghetti alle Vongole, but aside from clams and white wine, you can expect garlic and olive oil. The acidity in Pinot Grigio helps cut through the heavy carbohydrates in the pasta, along with the tastebud clogging fat of the olive oil. Meanwhile, the acidity also lifts up the flavours of the Clams. Since Clams are briny in taste, the notes of peach, apple and citrus of Pinot Grigio are quite refreshing against the saltiness of this dish.
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi & Vongole Pasta Pairing
If I were to choose a white wine for myself to pair up with Vongole Sauce, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi would be it. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi has a streak of saline that is lovely with the saltiness and minerality found in the clams. On top of this, you’ll also get zingy lemon and pear flavours, which are refreshing against the clam, olive oil, garlic and pasta flavours. The wine also has almond notes that are wonderful with the nuttiness that accompanies fresh pasta.
The older Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is, the more complicated the flavours become and with Vongole Sauce, a young bottle is more preferred. Save an older bottle for something a little more complicated like Gnocchi tossed with asparagus, olive oil, garlic and fresh tomatoes.
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi is normally not very expensive and may come packaged in an amphora-shaped bottle (like a perfume bottle). This odd shape gained the wine recognition over the decades, however, many producers are shifting towards normal bottles as in modern times, the strange bottle shape can be seen as gimmicky and not reflect the elegance of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi.
Chablis & Vongole Pasta Pairing
Chablis is an unoaked Chardonnay from the Chablis region of France and features notes of crisp apple and a pleasant chalky minerality to it. The chalky notes are excellent with the brininess of the clams. Meanwhile, the crisp apple notes swoop in and lift up the flavours of the sauce as well as providing refreshment.
Muscadet & Spaghetti alle Vongole Pairing
Muscadet is a dry and light-bodied white wine from France and has a high acidity and citrus and mineral flavours. The minerality of Muscadet, which is saline in nature, makes it a natural pairing with the briney quality of the clams found in your sauce. The high acidity and citrus flavours keep your palate clean and refreshed in between bites ensuring all the lovely flavours shine bright.
Muscadet is similar in nature to Chablis, which we discussed above. If you’re familiar with Chablis but not Muscadet, I recommend you give this wine a spin!
Soave & Vongole Sauce Pairing
Soave is an Italian white wine made of Garganega grapes grown in Northern Italy. Soave is known for its melon, peach, and zesty orange flavours, as well as its subtle notes of saltiness blends in well with the briny flavours of the clams. While dry and light-bodied wine, Soave differs from the wine above in that it has a smooth oily like richness that complements the olive oil in your Vongole Sauce.