Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 3, 2007 01:51 PM

Dry white for clam sauce


anyone have a good suggestion for a dry white wine to use in clam sauce? thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm not a pinot grigio fan but that's what I'd use for a couple of different, it has a 'blandness' (my word, not sure the correct term would be) that a fruity sauv blanc or an oakey chard doesn't have. 2nd, it's a common Italian white and if you stick to the same area for food & wine, you're often safe and they often have an affinity for one another. Lastly, you can get something decent/drinkable for under $10, which is my standard for wine to cook with.

    Last thing - I predict this will be moved out of NE and into Wine in about 10 minutes.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JaneRI

      d'oh. my bad for the post in food. It's going in the sauce so I call it food. Thanks for the suggestion! mmmmm clam sauce.

      1. re: JaneRI

        Don't you find a lot of crappy PGs under $10?

        1. re: FrankJBN

          Frank, I don't think I understand your question....? I'll try to answer anyway. Yes, of course there are a lot of crappy pinots under $10. Lots of crappy chards, merlots and everything else under $10. But I find that you can easily find a drinkable PG under $10, and for the other reasons listed above, I find it to be a good cooking wine when white is called for. But I don't enjoy drinking PG, so I don't buy it often. You'll never find me buying a $20 PG, you know? Does that answer your question?

      2. I make spaghetti and clam sauce at least once a week -- with whatever white wine is still open from the previous night. I'm not sure I could tell the difference. I throw a lot of garlic and red pepper into the mix. But I don't have a real subtle palate.

        6 Replies
          1. re: TonyO

            Ditto the Vermouth suggestion. I always use Moilly Prat to make white clam sauce.

            1. re: qianning

              Yeah, I often use Vermouth because as a martini drinker I've always got some around. I recently started buying Moilly Prat and I think I do prefer it to the Martini and Rossi.

              1. re: ccferg

                Another vote for vermouth...Either Noilly Prat or Boissière...

                1. re: fauchon

                  Yeah, it's Noilly , not Moilly. Sorry about that. Tastes the same either way though.

              2. re: qianning

                i generally use Noilly Pratt for cooking but for white clam sauce I might go with a Italian white vermouth like Cinzano. They are markedly different. Try a side by side sniffa and taste test

          2. Pick up a $4 bottle of rene barbier Spanish white - or some other $4 bottle.

            The basic purpose of wine in this sauce is to add acidity.

            1 Reply
            1. re: FrankJBN

              But be careful not to add too much acidity. I like the sauce to taste real clammy, buttery and olive oily. I make my clam sauce with quahogs and always add plenty of that strong broth for the sauce. Also plenty of garlic, red pepper and parsley.

            2. What I found with buying some of the less expensive whites for cooking, is that they taste bitter on my tongue. Then that's all I can taste. I haven't tried the vermouth, actually I hadn't thought of that. For me, the wine has to taste good. I dump bad wines, no matter what.
              Oh and I use sauvignon blanc for clam sauce. But now I will try the vermouth!

              1. I believe a simple Trebbiano is the more traditional wine for clam sauce... I understand that tastes may vary, but it seems that the wormwood-flavors of vermouth would not be a good match for this dish.