Heavy food requires a full-bodied wine. To a light meal, a light-bodied wine is the best.
For red meat, a red wine with high tannin content, like Italian Barolo or Bordeaux red, is a good choice.
A matured wine has over the years developed complex flavours and aromas. To get the most out of the wine, the food must be simple - grilled or fried meat is ideal.
Always take into account the sauce and seasoning. It may be more important to match the wine with a rich sauce or spices than the main ingredient.
A wine with a distinct oak character can completely knock out food that is not richly flavoured.
An important characteristic of the wine is that it reinforces spicy flavours. A strong pepper dish can be almost unpalatable to a red wine with high amount of tannins (astringency).
Do not drink dry wines to sweet food - the wine will taste thin and acidic. Rule of thumb is that the wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert.
If the wine is astringent the food will be perceived as hotter and more bitter.
If you perceive the white wine too sour you can squeeze a slice of lemon over the food. The food will then taste fresher and the wine less fresh.
If you think the wine is too astringent for the food, you can either sprinkle salt or squeeze a bit of lemon over the food. Both the salt and acid will soften the astringency.
Wine in cooking can do wonders and highlight the simplest sauce or stew to gastronomic heights.
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