Food and wine pairing can be challenging - not because there are strict and rigid rules as to what specific food must be matched with a specific wine, but because taste, by its very nature, is incredibly subjective. A food that one person enjoys may be a food that another person hates; two people who love the same dish may be split on their choice of wine. It's hard enough to make dinner for eight people, and make sure everyone at the table likes what's being served, before adding another component like wine. Food and wine are both extremely variable, too. Take fennel as an example - raw, it is crunchy with an intense licorice flavor; slowly braised, it is mellow, soft, and sweet. Wine is the same. A Chardonnay from Chablis, France is lean, flinty, with tart apple aromas; a Chardonnay from Sonoma, California will often be rich, creamy, with flavors of vanilla. Whether someone prefers braised fennel to raw, or California Chardonnay to Chablis, is completely personal.|
That being said, pairing food and wine together should be fun. The old rule, "Red wine with meat, white wine with fish" is grounded in many lifetimes' worth of experience (and a bit of biology), but is not, and should not be, enforced by any Wine Police or judged by anyone but yourself. Learning what you like and what you don't like is an exciting experience, and if you don't enjoy that Merlot with your roast chicken tonight, then pop the cork back in the bottle, stick the wine in the refrigerator, and drink it tomorrow.
What follows is a basic guide to food and wine pairing, providing general information on how food and wine work together in your mouth. From there, we may offer a few specific recommendations, but they are merely suggestions of certain tastes that we've enjoyed, and passed along to you. Wine itself is a food, and as you become more familiar with more wines, you will learn more quickly what flavors and textures you like with others. Cooking with wine is wonderful, as well, as I've found that most of the time, whatever bit of wine I glug into the pan is always welcome in a glass, next to my plate.
The Weight of Food and Wine
The original document is available at http://www.vintnerscircle.com/uncorked/WineAndFoodPairing