Wine selection advice please

Planning a second date for tomorrow, and looking to impress and be a little romantic at the same time. Original plans are for steamed clams, and I’m thinking instead of going out to a bar for clam night, I’d just grab a bag of clams from the local seafood shop and we’d make our own. I’d like to show up with a bottle of wine or something as well. I’m a beer drinker, but the lady in question enjoys a variety of beverages, ranging from beer to vodka cranberries to martinis. I know that the $9 gallon handle jugs of wine make satisfactory cooking wines for my purposes, but that’s the extent of my knowledge. Can anyone suggest a good wine to go with clams? Price is, unfortunately, a bit of an object, but I’m also not going to show up with a screw cap bottle either. I’m assuming white wine, but would appreciate suggestions from the more knowledgeable.


I enjoy wines but tend to stick with the same few favorites and will drink just about any wine with any food, so I’m not the person to recommend a wine pairing. But I will say that these days some excellent wines come in screw-cap bottles, so don’t let that dissuade you from a particular wine.

Yeah, screw-tops are nothing to be afraid of. Pretty much all Australian wine comes in screw-tops, and that includes some excellent wines. And other areas are starting to warm to them as well.

Back to wine recs: I’m going to say what I always say in these threads. What you want is not a recommendation for a particular wine, as many wines are not available everywhere in the country, and those that are tend to be of the more pedestrian varieties.

What you want is a good wine shop. Is there a wine store in your area that advertises itself as specializing in wine? Good signs of wine-specialist shops are places that offer tastings and/or reviews, monthly or weekly wine newsletters, and/or shops that offer only wine (as opposed to all liquors). Find one of those, and go in and talk to someone who works there. Tell them you’re cooking clams, and what your price range is. Chances you’ll get a really good bottle.

There’s a sauvignon blanc by Nobilo (New Zealand) that I’m currently in love with. It runs $13-$15 a bottle here in MN. Very citrusy - lots of grapefruit and pear. Very crisp. I love it.

I have no idea how well it would pair with clams, though. But it should be fairly easy to find, I hope.

Athena is right, definitely check with a local wine shop. And embrace the screw cap! :wink:

I’d pair steamed clams (and, I’m assuming some kind of butter/garlic/lemon sauce) with a zippy white. A New Zealand Sauv Blanc would work very well, as would a Pinot Grigio or a white Vinho Verde. I think the Vinho Verde would be my personal choice, I like the slight fizz most of them have, and it’s just a perfect match for seafood. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bottle of Vinho Verde selling for more than 15 or 20 bucks, most are in the 10 dollar range.

Very good. Thank you.

I like these kinds of threads; I didn’t say it in my first post because I was pressed for time, but my ideas on what kinds of wine would go with clams were NZ Sauv. Blanc or Vinho Verde. Always good to know that I’m in the ballpark.

You can never go wrong with Pinto Grigio as it is soft and pretty much goes with everything. I use it as a fallback wine when I’m not sure what is cooking or what to bring. Personally I prefer reds with virtually everything and it is hard to beat the Australian blends for value.

Pinot Grigio is great with steamed shellfish. Make sure you serve it chilled. California makes the best ones, in my opinion, and Beringer Pinot Gris is a very good choice for not a lot of money.

If you want red, one of my old standbys is Rosemount Estates Shiraz from Australia. Shiraz is probably the most versatile of wines and typically goes well with almost any type of meat (though you’d probably want to go Pinot Noir if you’re planning on fish). The old rule of “red with meat, white with fish” is antiquated – you can mix and match nowadays as long as you’ve got a good idea of what you’re doing. Getting the Shiraz allows you to share a bottle if you don’t know what dinner will be or you’re getting beef and she’s getting chicken.

Oh, and on that, you can’t go wrong with Shiraz from Australia, Chile, or New Zealand. Just please, please don’t get Yellow Tail. It tastes like radiator fluid.

Something came up so dinner was postponed, so there’s more time for this. Clams work better for tomorrow anyway what with Lenten observations and all.

Red has something in it that can cause migraines in some people, though, right? Honestly, I’d rather her have a headache because she’s not interested than because my wine selection actually caused one. Sort of…

I don’t know about migraines, but I do know that some people seem to get headaches after drinking wine. Some people say red wine does it to them, others say white. It does seem to be very much a personal thing, and if she hasn’t mentioned that she reacts badly to wine I don’t think you should assume she does.

There’s no clear consensus as to why some people have this reaction. A lot of people blame sulfites, but I personally don’t think that’s the case - lots and lots of food have sulfites, not just wine, and the same people who complain about sulfites in wine don’t avoid all the other foods that have more sulfites in them.

Yea, red wine can trigger migraines in some people, though ‘red wine headache’ isn’t entirely understood. I think right now most scientists are claiming it’s histamines that cause it, but it’s still a mystery.

Definitely not sulfites though, as Athena already mentioned. Most whites have more sulfites than reds anyway.

Not just red wine. I personally know more people who have trouble with whites or champagnes. My mother has completely given up champagne even though she loves it because of the headache it gives her.

I also know a couple other people who claim that whites give them headaches, but are fine with reds.

It can be a reaction to the various types of wine yeast. More commonly is a reaction to the tannins found in red wine.

Its rather a simple but elegant dish.

I would suggest a mature Chablis or a Champagne.
Or a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire walley

Just found out that dinner’s off the table. (Heh, see what I did there?)

Thanks for the suggestions, though. I’ll keep them in mind for next time.