The key to a good food and wine paring is to match the food with the weight of the wine! One needs to think about the cooking method... while thinking about the body and weight of the wine.
First we’ll talk about the cooking methods and then we’ll follow up with a list of wines chiefly itemized from lightest body to heaviest body so you can begin to connect the dots.
Steam, poached or boiled food go with the lightest and most mild flavors and weights.
Fried foods add Fat…and Fat gives most to the weight of the food
Braised and Stewed dishes, including casseroles and classics meals such as Coq Au Vin and Beef Bourguignon are for Richer and more concentrated arrangements
Grilled and BBQ cooking gives off smoky and caramelized flavors which add to the awareness of weight. Grilled foods generally do not give off any additional acidity in the food mostly can be added with citrus or marinades.
Roasted meats and dishes are for wines that can measure up to a concentrated body.
Here is a list of wines from lightest body to heaviest body (note that white Viognier, Oaked Chardonnay, Red Gamay (Beaujolais) and Pinot Noir tend to have similar body):
The whites: Champagne(or Cava), Muscadet, Pinot Blanc, Italy’s Pinot Grigio, France’s Pinot Gris, Sancerre, Pully Fume, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, France’s Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Oaked Chardonnay.
The reds: Gamay(Beaujolais), Pinot Noir, Granache, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Merlot, Italy's Nebbiolo, France’s Syrah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Australian Shiraz.
When starting to pair; it’s alright to stick with top producer’s ask your wine merchant…For example, tell them you are looking for a Riesling to pair with Mexican, Asian or Indian foods… a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais to pair with a grilled Chicken with parsley…a lively young red to pair up with some Pecorino cheese.
Have fun! Enjoy making the pairings…
By the way, usually Alcohol in a wine can be a gauge to the body of a wine… lower than 11-12% alcohol is a lighter bodied wine. Fuller bodied wines have higher alcohol commonly more that 12-13%. But be on alert because winemakers like to get creative with their wines so just use this as part of your formula when finally picking out the wine for your meal.