* Part of the pleasure of pairing wine and food is to be aggressive, to take chances. So don't be too timid.
* For example, the usual thing about white wine with fish. No, try red wine with fish, if it's the right fish. For meaty fish such as tuna, salmon or halibut, try a soft red wine that provides a little more flavor: a fruitier, light red like a young Pinot Noir or a Valpolicella.
* Delicate seafood should be served with a dry, steely white wine. An overly oaky white will detract from the fresh flavor of the fish. I have a hard time matching Chardonnay, because it can overpower a dish. But bigger white wines should be served with dishes that have rich, creamy sauces.
* The wine has to support the food. Think about both the intensity of the wine's flavor and its acidity.
* The weight or the body of the wine should be appropriate to the food. Delicate food is best with light wines, and heartier foods need bigger wines for balance.
* A glass of wine is supposed to cleanse the mouth, to finish the sensation, not to keep stretching into new sensations. Your palate is cleaned again and refreshed so it is ready for the next pleasure.
* Another important concept to me is that the wine is like a sauce. It can help a fairly bland piece of meat or fish to rise to more textures, more flavors, more sensation in the palate.
* Unless there's seafood in the sauce, you can't lose pairing pasta and Chianti.
* Sweet matches with sweet. If you can perceive it in the wine, there should also be something in the dish, whether it's fruit, a touch of honey or a hint of spices.
* Pay attention to acidity and salt. Acidity is the salt of the wine; it makes the other flavors taste better. At the same time, salty foods will make wines that don't have enough acidity taste flat.
* Some ingredients will give wine trouble. Be careful using artichokes, raw garlic, asparagus and anchovies.
* A long-aged red wine--a Cabernet, Merlot, Barolo or red Rhone--is perfect with richly flavored meat. Lamb, rabbit and game have such fattiness in the taste that a perfectly matured red wine will mix between the flavors.
* Unless you're fairly experienced with wine, stay away from highly tannic ones like young Bordeaux, Brunello or Cabernet Sauvignon. Eventually, the tannin will fade into fruit, but when those wines are young, you will be tasting things that are more chemical than pleasurable.