Forget all the frippery associated with the pairing of wine; I am going to let you in on a little secret.
The best wine to have with any meal is the one you most enjoy.
Most of us do not have such refined palates that we notice the unique interplay of the flavor compounds in wine with those in the food alongside. Most of us operate on the mode of: food is good, wine is good, food and wine are good together.
Some folks enjoy steeping themselves in the vast ocean of wine possibilities. If you are one of those people, great! But for everyone else, here are a few wine guidelines that will rarely lead you astray:
1. Pair like with like. White meat-white wine, red meat- red wine, sweets – sweet wine.
2. Look at the body. Rich dishes, sauces- full bodied wine, light fare- light bodied wine. A handy list:
Common Red wine varietals from lightest to fullest bodied:
European Pinot Noir- Chianti- US & Australian Pinot Noir- Malbec- Merlot – Syrah- Zinfandel- Cabernet Sauvignon
Common White wine varietals from lightest to fullest bodied:
Pinot Grigio- Chenin Blanc- European Sauvignon Blanc- US & Australian Sauvignon Blanc- European Chardonnay- California Chardonnay
3. When in doubt, order champagne. Sparkling wine compliments nearly everything. (One of my favorite combinations in the world is french fries and champagne).