The most important elements to pay attention to in pairing wine and food are the acidity, tannin, alcohol, and any overt wood flavors in the wine.
PAIR THE WINE TO PERSONAL TASTE-- know your guests personal taste in wine. If your guests only drink red wine consider matching red wine --even to fish.
MATCH THE WEIGHT AND TEXTURE OF THE FOOD TO THE WEIGHT OF THE WINE -- In food and wine pairings, the most basic element considered is "weight"-the balance between the weight of the food (a heavy, red sauce pasta versus a more delicate salad) and the weight or "body" of the wine (a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon versus a more delicate Pinot grigio).
heavy food with heavy wine --light dishes --light wine -- heavy wines will overpower light wines... heavy dishes e.g., will over power light wines --examples e.g., pizza with proscuitto... or poached filet of sole ...
Lighter whites Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Chablis, Champagne and sparkling wines, Gruner Veltliner, Vinho Verde
Medium to heavy whites Oaked Sauvignon blanc, Alsatian wines, Albarino, White Bordeaux (Semillon), White Burgundy, Rhone whites (Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne), Tamaioasa Romaneasca and New World Chardonnay
Lighter reds Beaujolais, Dolcetto, some Pinot noir
Medium reds Chianti, Barbera, Burgundy, Chinon, Rioja, Cabernet franc, Merlot, Malbec, Zinfandel, some Pinot noir
Heavier reds Syrah, Brunello di Montalcino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Port, Barbaresco and Barolo
-- MATCH FATTY FOODS WITH HIGHER TANNIC WINES-
-- IF USING A SAUCE - - PAIR THE WINE TO THE SAUCE. --
--IF NO SAUCE IS USED PAIR TO THE PROTEIN USED -- See notes from Experts.
-- Cabernet almost never goes with fish... the exeception is monkfish which needs to be prepared with mushrooms and red wine.
--Fatty meat dishes go well with tannic wine
-- well done meats or stews with lower fat content go with red that has low tannins
A good red wine has everyting to do with the fat content, which involve both cooking style and the nature of the beef itself"
The best match for game birds pinot noir -- pinot noir from france was made to match game birds such as quail pigeon and duck
--Poached fish is best served with white wine
--Fish with skin on and grilled or seared works with white or red wine
--Avoid oaked white wines with raw fish
PAIR SWEET DISHES TO WINES THAT ARE AS SWEET OR SWEETER --
PAIR ACIDIC DISHES WITH ACIDIC WINES -- Wine should be equal to or more acidic than the dish.
PAIR BY COLOR --
SPICY FOODS REQUIRE A SWEETER WINE --
CONSIDER THE LEVEL OF SALT IN THE DISH -- Rember first that salt will magnify flavors, but too much and salt is all you taste. Salty dishes require a crispy wine with high acidity, some sweetness and low tannins. see notes from the experts.
ALTERNATIVE WINE PAIRING APPROACHES
PAIR TO SIMILAR FLAVORS
Pair for the overall flavor of the dish --whatever the 'main ingredient' may be. This is often the case for Asian dishes.
COMPEMENT OR CONTRAST
After considering weight, pairing the flavors and texture can be dealt with using one of two main strategies complement or contrast.
RED GRAPE VARIETIES
WHITE WINE VARIETIES