Select light-bodied wines to pair with lighter food, and fuller-bodied wines to go with heartier, more flavorful dishes. Using the salmon example above, the Gerard Bertrand Pinot Noir works beautifully with the fish because you are matching light to light. Otherwise a full-bodied, heavier wine will overpower a light, delicate dish, and similarly, a lighter style wine will not have enough intensity to balance a hearty roast.
2. Consider how the food is prepared. Is it grilled, roasted, or fried? What type of sauce or spice is used? For example, chicken with a lemon butter sauce will call for a different more delicate wine to play off the sauce than chicken cacciatore with all of the tomato and Italian spices, or a grilled chicken breast.
3. Food reacts to wine, and wine reacts to food. When you drink wine by itself it tastes one way, but after you take a bite of food, the wine often tastes different. This is because wine is like a spice. Elements in the wine interact with the food to provide a different taste sensation like these basic reactions:
Sweet Foods like Italian tomato sauce, Japanese teriyaki, and honey-mustard glazes make your wine seem drier than it really is so try an off-dry (slightly sweet) wine to balance the flavor (Riesling, Roussanne, Marsanne).
High Acid Foods like salads with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, soy sauce, or fish served with a squeeze of lemon will make low acid wines seem flat. Pair these foods with wines that are higher in acid (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier).
Bitter and Astringent Foods like a mixed green salad of bitter greens, Greek kalamata olives and charbroiled meats accentuate a wine’s bitterness so complement it with a full-flavored, fruit forward wine(Rio Seco Vio Rio). Big tannic red wines (Sculpterra Cabernet Sauvignon, Four Vines Heretic Zinfandel)will go best with your classic grilled steak or lamb chops, as the fat in the meat will tone down the tannin in the wine.