When it comes to wine, break rules — not bottles. The old saw about having red wine with meat and white wine with fish is just asking to be shattered, but without shredding a wallet.
There are some guidelines that will make red go better with fish and they are easy. If you are simply poaching filets of delicate white fish like cod, flounder, trout or sea bass, then white is the way to go. There are plenty that can be found for under $15 – Austria’s Grüner Veltliner, Italy’s Vermentino, Muscadet from the Loire, or whites from Portugal or Greece.
But if that piece of cod or fluke or hake is a bit thicker and being baked in a tomato-based sauce, than a light-to medium-bodied red such as a California Pinot Noir, or a Portuguese Vinhão, or a Morellino di Scansano from Italy’s Piedmont region or a Beaujolais from France, work.
Salmon, tuna, monkfish and swordfish easily go with a red – especially if the chef has tarted them up with a peppery crumb crust. Now reds with a bit more body and bit more zip can be called in: Think Zinfandel or Tempranillo or Garnacha.
And, of course, there is always rosé.
Here are 10 reds — all for $15 or less (and a few under $10) — for the next time you want to break that white wine with fish rule. If these specific wines are not available at your local shop, not to worry. The merchant should be able to recommend a similar bottle. But if they can’t, it may be time to find another shop.
1) Beso de Vino Garnacha from Grandes Vinos y Viñedos, Carineña, Spain $12
2) Terre di Talamo ‘Tempo’, Morellino di Scansano DOCG, Italy, $15
3) Hahn, California Pinot Noir $14
4) Georges DuBoeuf Juliénas, Beaujolais, France $15
5) Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Reserva Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile $9
6) Casal Paço Padreiro Aphros Vinhao Tinto Vinho Verde, Portugal $15
7) Altovinum Evodia Old Vines Garnacha, Calatayud, Spain $9
8) Bodegas Iranzo, Tarantas Rosé Joven, a sparkling rose from a region near Valencia, Spain $11
9) Laurent Miquel Pere et Fils Cinsault – Syrah Rosé, IGP Pays d’Oc, France $8
10) Cep d’Or Cotes de Provence Rosé, Cotes de Provence, France $10.