Serving the perfect wine to accompany a meal is widely regarded as an art in itself. However, it's relatively easy to find the right harmony between food and wine by following a number of basic rules:
Alcohol enhances the impression of sweetness, intensifies the flavour of spices and aids the functioning of the digestive system. Wines with a low alcohol content appear more acidic. Dry wines with a high alcohol content are smoother in texture than dry wines with a low alcohol content.
Bitterness tasted in wine – or in food that has been fried, grilled or braised – balances the sweetness and tones down the acidity. Although the perception of bitterness is slow to develop, there is a lingering aftertaste. Bitter tastes are easier on the palate when accompanied by wines with a high level of tannins and a high alcohol content.
Fatty foods are easier on the stomach when accompanied by wines high in acidity, tannins and alcohol content. These three components of wine are particularly effective in stimulating both appetite and digestion.
Strongly spiced foods (e.g. seasoned with pepper, chilli, curry or Tabasco sauce) taste even more intense when complemented by wines with a high alcohol content. So be very careful if you're serving high-alcohol wines that are very acidic as well.
Salt enhances the perception of flavour and bitterness in both wine and food.