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A Clambake and Summer Wines for Father's Day

An easy stovetop version of the summer classic, plus a list of refreshing Sauvignon Blancs and rosés

Laurie Woolever
Posted: June 11, 2010

This Father's Day, give dad a day off from the grill and celebrate him with a clambake. Though traditionally cooked outdoors, over a beach pit fire, the clambake can also be prepared indoors, so you can enjoy all the classic summer flavor of clams, corn, lobster, sausage, potatoes and butter, whether you're at the shore, in the mountains or somewhere in between. Another benefit of the stovetop clambake: Dad won't be obligated to do any digging or heavy lifting on his special day.

Indoors or out, a clambake is an ultra-casual summer affair, best served with plenty of napkins and some easy-drinking wines with enough acidity to counter the richness of the seafood, sausage and butter. Below is a list of recommended Sauvignon Blancs and rosés—just the thing to salute our fathers as we usher in the summer.

STOVETOP CLAMBAKE

• 2 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 5 pounds rockweed (North Atlantic seaweed used to pack shellfish; ask your fishmonger) or kale seasoned with Japanese seaweed powder
• 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, cooked to just tender and cooled completely
• 2 pounds kielbasa, linguica, andouille or other sausage of your choice, cut in 6-inch lengths
• 60 steamer, littleneck or cherrystone clams, well-scrubbed
• 6 1-pound lobsters (optional)
• 12 ears corn, husks and silk removed
• 1 egg
• 1/3 pound butter, melted
• 3 lemons, cut into wedges

1. Place a large lobster pot with a tight-fitting lid (at least 10 gallons) over medium-high heat. Add 1 quart water, the stock or clam juice, a generous pinch of salt and 1/4 of the seaweed. Bring to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, using cheesecloth tied with string or mesh steamer bags, create six packets, each containing equal portions of potatoes, sausage and clams, 1 lobster and 2 ears corn. Layer the packets in the pot, arranging remaining seaweed or kale around, between and atop the packets. Place the egg securely atop the ingredients, cover and cook 15 minutes, then remove lid and egg, and gently rearrange packets and seaweed so that ingredients cook evenly. Return egg to pot, cover and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until egg is cooked through when cracked.

3. Cut open and discard the bags, and transfer the food onto warm serving platters. You may also choose to serve each guest a packet on a large plate and allow them to open bags themselves. Place some of the cooking liquid in small bowls, so that guests may dredge their clams in it before dipping in butter. Serve immediately with the cooking liquid, butter, lemon wedges and salt and pepper alongside. Serves 6.

RECOMMENDED SAUVIGNON BLANCS

Note: The following list is a selection of wines from recently rated releases.

LAWSON'S DRY HILLS Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2009 Score: 91 | $18
Light in style, but generous in flavor, offering fresh, coconut-scented pineapple and lime flavors. Finishes with a creamy texture against zippy acidity. Drink now. 10,000 cases made. —H.S.

BABICH Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Black Label 2009 Score: 90 | $18
Classic passion fruit, pineapple and lemon flavors skate easily over the lively, jazzy structure, the texture remaining silky through the finish. Drink now. 15,000 cases made. —H.S.

HUNTER'S Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Jane Hunter 2009 Score: 90 | $14
Soft and juicy, with mouthwatering balance to the pear and grapefruit flavors, hinting at pineapple as the finish goes on. Drink now. 25,000 cases made. —H.S.

THE CROSSINGS Sauvignon Blanc Awatere Valley 2009 Score: 89 | $15
This is generous with its grapefruit and celery seed flavors, which linger on the deftly balanced finish. Drink now. 27,000 cases made. —H.S.

CHIMNEY CREEK Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2009 Score: 88 | $13
Light and tart, beautifully focused to show its grapefruit and green pineapple, with a welcome grassy note that lingers on the relatively delicate finish. Drink now. 13,500 cases made. —H.S.

LINE 39 Sauvignon Blanc Lake County 2008 Score: 87 | $10
Elegant and full-bodied, with ripe Bartlett pear and apple flavors, hints of spice and citrus peel. The refreshing acidity kicks in on the finish. Drink now. 8,504 cases made. —M.W.

SNOQUALMIE Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2008 Score: 87 | $10
Light and fragrant, with pretty pear, grapefruit and herb flavors, lingering gently. Drink now. 28,000 cases made. —H.S.

GEYSER PEAK Sauvignon Blanc California 2008 Score: 86 | $12
Bright and tangy, with a strong, pungent herb and grass side. The combination of a lean body, crisp acidity and intense flavors makes for a very refreshing wine. Drink now. 100,000 cases made. —M.W.

VIÑA VENTISQUERO Sauvignon Blanc Rapel Valley Yali Winemaker's Selection 2009 Score: 86 | $10
Fresh and lively, with a nice mix of lemon and lime flavors backed by sea salt and floral notes. The finish is juicy. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 100,000 cases made. —J.M.

RECOMMENDED ROSÉS

Note: The following list is a selection of wines from recently rated releases.

CHÂTEAU DE POURCIEUX Côtes de Provence Rosé 2009 Score: 88 | $15
A crisp style, with crunchy red peach and Fuji apple notes that give this plenty of verve. Dried raspberry and melon flavors, with hints of anise, linger on the finish. Drink now. 12,000 cases made. —K.M.

ANGOVE'S Grenache-Shiraz South Australia Rosé Nine Vines 2009 Score: 87 | $12
This blazing pink rosé is off-dry and generous with its raspberry and rhubarb fruit, finishing with a silky texture. Drink now. 15,000 cases made. —H.S.

LA VIEILLE FERME Côtes du Ventoux Rosé 2009 Score: 87 | $9
This has a nice dark cherry color, with tasty cherry, ripe strawberry and mineral notes that all weave through the fresh finish. Lively and tasty. Drink now. 42,000 cases made. —J.M.

UNION CAMPESINA INIESTENSE Bobal Viño de la Tierra de Castilla Rosado Señorío de Iniesta 2008 Score: 86 | $11
This rosé has a striking scarlet color and assertive flavors of cherry, pomegranate and orange zest, backed by noticeable tannins. Has the structure to match with food. Drink now. 12,000 cases made. —T.M.

DOMAINE DE LA CITADELLE Lubéron Rosé Le Châtaignier 2009 Score: 86 | $15
A light, elegant style, with hints of rose water, watermelon rind and tobacco backed by a fresh, mineral-tinged finish. Drink now. 16,667 cases made. —J.M.

JEAN-LUC COLOMBO Vin de Pays de Méditerranée Rosé Cape Bleue 2009 Score: 86 | $12
Fresh and lively, with medium-weight cherry, watermelon and dried strawberry notes backed by a juicy edge on the finish. Drink now. 10,000 cases made. —J.M.

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