The old general rules – red with red meat, white with poultry and fish – still apply, but there are exceptions, qualifications, nuances of intensity, tartness, dryness. Wine can alter the taste of food, food the taste of wine. Food and wine should enhance each other, not fight each other or cancel each other out.
Wine does not go well with chocolate, citrus, vinegar, artichokes, peppers, sweet corn, barbecue sauce, ketchup. If you do serve wine with these foods, make it a rosé, Gamay, or Zinfandel. Here are few suggestions:
Shellfish: Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, Chardonnay, white Burgundy, Muscadet, Soave, sparkling wines.
Smoked fish and fish soup: Sauvignon Blanc.
Oysters: Chablis, Muscadet
Light fish: dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Sancerre, and white Burgundy.
Fish dishes made with red wine: young Bordeaux
Salmon and other meaty dish: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, white Burgundy, white Zinfandel.
Veal and pork: Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, white Rhône wine, Riesling.
Veal, beef, meat loaf: Merlot.
Grilled steak: Zinfandel.
Lamb: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux reds, Zinfandel.
Meat stew: Zinfandel, Côtes-du-Rhone, Châteaunefu-du-Pape, Gigondas.
Chicken: Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, white Rhône wine, Riesling.
Duck: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot.
Poultry stew: Côtes-du-Rhône.
Spicy Southwestern, Mexican, Oriental Food: Côtes-du-Rhône.
Shrimp or chicken salad: Soave, Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc.
Fruit salad or fruit soup: dry Riesling.
Salty and highly seasoned foods: sparkling or sweet wines.
Thanksgiving dinner: any color, young, matched to the stuffing – Rhône wine for chestnut dressing, Riesling or Gewürztraminer with apple stuffing, for instance.
Pasta with tomato sauce: Barbera, Zinfandel.
Pasta with vegetables: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave, sparkling wines.
Cold salmon and oriental food: dry Riesling.