Sip, savor, enjoy. Food pairing is the wonderful practice of finding harmonious pairings by evaluating flavor, texture, aroma, and intensity.
Pairing wine with food can be broken down into two categories:
Congruent vs. Complimentary.
Congruent pairings share compounds whose fusion results in a more intense flavor profile due to similarities in flavor notes.
Complementary pairings counteract each other displaying opposite compounds resulting in a balanced-out effect when combined.
Here are a few tips for pairing this with that:
If what you're eating is acidic and puckers your inner cheek, avoid drinking a wine that's low on the acidity scale. Wines with high acidity will shine here but ones with lower acidity will taste flat. Combine higher-acidity foods with equally-acidic wines because no one wants a wine they'd describe as flat. Ew.
Some cheeses out there are darn right stinky. Accompanied by a powerful flavor, Gorgonzola is a cheese that begs to be dancing with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah on the taste buds. Even a Zinfandel with fruit-forward qualities would be a great match.
We gotta get a palate cleanser up in here for this dish. Red, red, tannic red is the go-to in this case, providing just the right amount of dry taste and texture you'll definitely be craving. Fat content in some cheeses and meats (or even avocados) coat the mouth, inviting a scrumptious Cabernet Franc to slim things down.
Think of that bitter-tasting and gritty texture identifiable in cooked spinach. Same thing as tannins in red wine! Foods in this category tend to magnify the bitter taste of tannins so choose a sweet wine with little to no tannins.
Reel in that Riesling! I adore spicy stuff and once I discovered how delicious a cold Riesling tastes with some fiery Indian Curry, I decided it was my favorite flavor combo. Milk is a close second when the heat gets real.
This is the best news I've heard all day...DOUBLE SWEETS! If it's sugary, get to poppin' a varietal that has honey characteristics, like a Roussane, Chenin Blanc, or Muscat.
Sometimes it's nice to be intentional with your wine consumption but I, too, have paired Hot Cheetos with Meiomi. These are simple suggestions in case you do decide to plan some pairings out.
If you're like me, it's a plan for me, myself, and I because just in case it's as disastrous as my decision to have an entire bottle of Rosé with chocolate chip cookies and pizza, let's say there aren't any hard rules in pairings--taste, decide, indulge. Wine does not judge.