Wine pairings for Spaghetti alle Vongole con Pesto
This week’s Sunday Pasta is incredibly savory. It combines saline clams with garlic, pine nuts, fragrant pesto and both Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecornio. For your wine pairings, shy away from fruit generosity and seek out minerality and earthiness.
White wines are the easiest way to play with this dish. Italy tends to make leaner rather than richer whites, so it’s almost hard to go wrong with any Italian white, as long as it doesn’t spend any time in new oak. Verdicchio is always one of my favorite saline whites to pair with shellfish. It’s minerally and lemony, yet it’s not a lightweight. Most hover around 13% alcohol to give you the body you need to sop up the cheesy accents of this spaghetti. If you can find Verdicchio di Matellica, you’ll have a slightly rounder wine than Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi. For this dish, I’d go inland for Matelica to match the sumptuousness of the clams.
Reds tend to not play nicely with shellfish, so head to the rosato section of your favorite wine store instead. Some rosatos are leaner and some are richer. While it’s a slightly crude estimation, try looking at the alcohol percentage to see where the wine’s weight falls. Wines with higher alcohol levels (granted, rosato rarely goes above 13-13.5%) will get you closer to the weight of a red, like those I’ve suggested here.
Check out our recipe for Spaghetti alle Vongole con Pesto.
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)