It does of course depend on how you make your spaghetti alle vongole – the classic Italian dish of spaghetti with white wine and clams – but in my book, the answer is simple: a young, unoaked, Italian white wine.
Goodness, there are enough to chose from! A simple Soave, Bianco di Custoza, Frascati, Falanghina, Vermentino, Vernaccia or Verdichio dei Castelli de Jesi, basic Sicilian whites – even a Pinot Grigio though be prepared to pay more than the lowest cut price offer for it.
Italian grape varieties grown elsewhere such as Vermentino and Pinot Grigio would do the trick but make sure it’s the classic Italian style rather than the off-dry Pinot Gris one.
You could of course drink any crisp dry white from elsewhere. Muscadet would be fine as would Chablis, Picpoul de Pinet or Albarino. Sauvignon Blanc I personally think is too powerfully aromatic for this simple dish.
A genuinely dry rosé – such as a Côtes de Provence or a Bardolino would also be a good pairing.
Including more tomato in the dish might mean you want a wine of greater intensity – say a late harvest Vermentino (intense but not sweet) or a Greco di Tufo from Campania, but I personally don’t think you can better this version from the Guardian’s excellent Felicity Cloake who assiduously road tests a range of recipes in her weekly How to Cook The Perfect . . . column.
Photograph © Felicity Cloake