A successful food and wine wheel complements the sugar, acid, fruit, tannin and alcohol components that create a wine’s flavor with the fat, acid, salt or sugar composing a food’s flavor. Combinations on the wheel may pair the foods or contrast them. For instance, a meal with a rich, sweet sauce may be juxtaposed with a crisp wine or matched with a ripe, soft Chardonnay.
Match foods with high fat content such a meat or dairy with a Cabernet with high tannin content. Foods with high acidity, such as seafood covered with a squeezed lemon, match well with wines of high acidity. Wines with lower acidity taste watered down and bland. If salad is to be placed on the food and wine wheel, moderate the dressing, lemon juice or vinegar to better pair with a wine.
Sparkling wines should be paired with salty, fried foods. Desserts on the wheel are best paired with a wine that tastes sweeter than the desert. For this reason, a darker chocolate matches well with red wine with some sweetness. Food and wine pairings on the wheel should be matched according to texture; light foods should be matched with light wine while heavier foods are matched with heavier wines.
Because Chinese food tends to be salty with strong flavors, the appropriate wine to complement this meal is a non-acetic wine. Examples include Riesling, Cabernet or Merlot. Indian food tends to be heavily spiced, so the appropriate match on the wheel is a wine without heavy oak flavors such as Merlot, Zinfandel or Syrah.