Wine can be paired with food in a congruent manner where the flavours in the wine match the flavours in the food such as a bold red paired with meat in a rich sauce and creamy old school Chardonnay with Brie cheese, or in a complimentary manner where the flavours in the wine balance or offset the flavours in the food such as a crisp dry Semillon Sauvignon Blanc with a spicy Asian noodle dish.
Reds in general pair well with meat. Cabernet, Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends match well with steaks or chops. The drying tannins in these wines refresh the palate after each bite of meat. Malbec, Shiraz and Côtes-du-Rhône (GSM) are big and bold enough to drink with heavily spiced meat dishes. Lighter bodied reds such as Pinot Noir and Dolcetto go well with pasta, pizza and recipes with earthy ingredients such as mushrooms and truffles. Zinfandel or Primativo pairs well with pates, mousses and terrines but can equally be enjoyed with a steak or Pizza
Whites often pair well with chicken and seafood. Chardonnays match well with creamy dishes and any sort of seafood in a lush sauce such as Atlantic salmon. Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Verdejo pair well with tangy foods like scallops in onion and grapefruit salad and also with spicy Asian salads. Light seafood dishes, such as seafood tostada bites, take on more flavour when matched with equally delicate white wines, such as Pinot Grigio or Arneis from Italy or Chablis from France. The slight sweetness of many Rieslings helps tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes
Some cheeses go better with white wine, some with red; yet almost all pair well with dry rosé, which has the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red.
Most dry sparkling wines, such as brut Champagne, Prosecco and Spanish Cava, actually have a hint of sweetness, making a complimentary pairing when served with salty foods, such as oysters or crispy udon noodles with nori salt. Moderately sweet sparkling wines such as Moscato d'Asti and Asti Spumante help emphasize the fruit in the dessert, rather than the sugar.