The best way to figure out what wines go together with what foods is to use the exact same approach that you consider when planning a sit-down meal. As an example, dinner courses usually incorporate a light appetizer, and then a fresh salad, then the filling main course and, lastly, a rich dessert.
Your wine selection should follow the identical progression that dinner courses possess - light to dark. The more intense the taste of the food, the more extreme the wine must be to balance out the meal.
While there is no wine and food coupling set in stone, evaluate each course one by one and choose which wine you believe would accentuate each element of your meal.
Typically, a meal commences with a light and delicate appetizer. Because this first course is generally designed to get the palate perked up, a lighter wine with a crisp, somewhat dry flavor would go quite well. As an example, think about the light brunch, where champagne is an ideal option. A white wine, for instance a Riesling, is going to do nicely as the citrus flavors usually accentuate most appetizers.
Don't forget that the wine type ought to go with the food; you wouldn't couple a Sauvignon Blanc along with a creamy salad dressing like a Ranch or a Thousand Island. The Sauvignon Blanc tilts far more towards the acidic side of the white wines, so a better match would have been a Caesar or Greek-style salad; one with a bit of bite in the dressing. For the creamy salad dressings, err on the side of caution using a White Zinfandel or something similar.
Much like the salad, a creamy dish must have a creamy wine while an acidic dish ought to use the opposite end of the selection. Take most meat dishes for instance, like beef or lamb. Given that these meats are more of a fatty and tasty dish, they will match nicely with big flavored wines like the Cabernets and Red Zinfandels. Pasta dishes with creamy sauce are ideal for the Chardonnay-like wines.
If there are any traits in wine matching, it generally will involve fish. Customarily, fish is served along with a crisp white wine because of the way the dish is prepared. Many fish meals use some sort of citrus with the cooking process, so it is only natural to get a lighter wine to help emphasize the flavors in the dish.
Dessert is, undeniably, the self-indulgent portion of the dinner. Usually, dessert time is the time to splurge on rich and creamy chocolates, and maybe sweet red strawberries. Since these tastes are so rich and deep, you'd obviously choose to pair these with rich and deep red wines, such as a Port. Sipping on a strong red wine helps to stabilize the richness of the dessert without covering up many of the flavors of the meal.
Of course, there isn't a partnering that's unacceptable, only suggestions. The commonly accepted rule would be to drink what you enjoy. If you want white wine, of course couple your favorite white wine with your favorite steak. If you prefer to drink a dark red wine, you can have it together with salad. You aren't breaking any laws.
Wine matching is not a science, but rather reliant on flavor. Get pleasure from sampling various wines along with your friends and discover your own unique wine matching favorites!