Creamy Clam Chowder, which is often referred to as New England Clam Chowder, pairs best with full-bodied white wines such as Chardonnay or Viognier. Clear Clam Chowder, such as Connecticut Clam Chowder, pairs best with crisp white wines like Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, and Albariño. Finally, tomato-based clam chowders, like Manhattan Clam Chowder, pair best with light and fruity reds such as Beaujolais, Italian Barbera, or a crisp Rosé.

Best Wine with Clam Chowder

CocktailCaesarManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
White WineChardonnayNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
SherrySherry, AmontilladoNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
Red WineBeaujolais VillagesManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
White WineViognierNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
White WinePinot GrigioClam Chowder - Clear Broth
White WineChenin BlancClam Chowder - Clear Broth
White WinePinot BlancClam Chowder - Clear Broth
White WinePinot Gris, AlsaceNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
White WineAlbariñoClam Chowder - Clear Broth
Red WineBeaujolais VillagesManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
Red WineRioja, RedManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
White WinePinot GrigioNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
White WinePinot GrisNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
White WineBurgundy, WhiteNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
White WineChablisNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
White WineMuscadetNew England Clam Chowder (Creamy)
RoséRoséManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
Red WinePinot NoirManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
Red WineChianti DOCGManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
White WineAssyrtikoManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
Red WineBarbera DOCManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
Red WineDolcetto (DOC)Manhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
Red WineValpolicella ClassicoManhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)

Connecticut Clam Chowder & Pinot Grigio Pairing

Italian Pinot Grigio is an excellent choice with Connecticut Clam Chowder as it has a crisp acidity that stands up to the tangy chowder broth. The acidity also cuts through the starchy potato flavours that are used to thicken up the broth, all while highlighting all the individual and delicious flavours in your Clam Chowder. The subtle flavours of peach, pear and apple help offset the fishy clam flavours while offering refreshment against the briny saltiness of the clam chowder. Finally, Pinot Grigio has a minerality to it that will complement the sea-kissed flavours of your chowder.

Pinot Grigio is easily accessible and should be available by the glass if you are dining out at a restaurant that serves wine. Pinot Grigio is also quite inexpensive and offers good quality for the lower price.

You may also see Connecticut Calm Chowder referred to as Rhode Island Chowder. Both clam Chowder styles refer to Clam Chowder that is not thickened by cream but rather potato starch.

New England Clam Chowder & Chardonnay Pairing

New England Clam Chowder is a rich and creamy Chowder that is thickened by cream. Sometimes it’s also called Boston Clam Chowder, and I’m sure it has other various guises as well. Creamy Clam Chowder is the most popular style of Clam Chowder in North America.

A full-bodied Chardonnay with a creamy body complements the weight of your Clam Chowder. The oaked body of Chardonnay will deliver some butter, vanilla and toasty notes that mesh well with the creamy base of the Clam Chowder. You’ll also get dazzling flavours of apple, citrus and tropical fruit with Chardonnay that contrasts the salty and fishy tasting Chowder without smothering them entirely out.

I’ve seen other people recommend Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling with New England Clam Chowder, and these two wines will work well, provided your Chowder isn’t super creamy. Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are very acidic, and when you combine cream with acidity, the cream can curdle in your mouth, which is not a pleasant texture. Acidic wines may also make extra creamy chowders taste sour. Thus, to be on the safe side, I’d stick to white wines lower in acidity, such as an oaked Chardonnay or Viognier.

Manhattan Clam Chowder & Beaujolais Villages Pairing

Manhattan Clam Chowder is a tomato-based Chowder, where tomatoes or a tomato paste are used to thicken up the broth. Tomato and clams have always made for a savoury and tangy experience, and the popular Caesar cocktail, which is made from clamato juice, is a prime example of this. My ultimate pairing with Manhattan Clam Chowder would be a Caesar cocktail, but this is a food and wine pairing blog.

For wine, Beaujolais Villages is an excellent choice with Manhattan Clam Chowder. Low in tannin and high in acidity, Beaujolais offers up refreshing flavours of cherry and strawberry, which complement the sweetness of the tomato. Beaujolais Villages also has a funky earthiness that will complement any vegetables mixed into your Chowder, such as leeks or potatoes.

The key to pairing red wine with Manhattan Clam Chowder is by choosing a wine that is higher in acidity than tannin. Tannic red wines will clash with the tomato’s acidity in your Chowder, which will make the wine taste metallic and flat. Tannin will also overpower the subtle clam flavours, which does not make for an ideal pairing. Other examples of red wines high in acidity include Valpolicella Classico, Barbera, Dolcetto and Pinot Noir.