Actually, there is no such thing as a "perfect" choice when it comes to choosing wine to go with your meal. Taste is too subjective, and what is perfect for one person could spell a disaster for someone else. However, there are some rules that do need to be taken into consideration, such as red wines going with beef, and white wines going with fish, chicken, and seafood. Just make sure you choose the best wine you can afford, mainly because they are usually higher quality and provide much more variety when it comes to aroma and flavor. If you're planning on a main course featuring beef, it is important to weigh the strength of its flavor against the strength of the wine's bouquet. If you're looking for a wine to go with your rather flavorful meal, choose a wine that is equal in its intensity.
On the other hand, you could always choose a lighter wine to go with this type of meal, if you're looking for a contrast. It all depends on what you're trying to feature, the wine or the food. One popular pairing is a Grenache, with its rich black pepper bouquet, and Steak au Poivre (steak with pepper). If you happen to find a Grenache from the Gigondas region of the Rhone Valley in France, you're in luck.
A more subtle dish, such as Steak Tartar, goes best with a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, as these wines are less intense in flavor and bouquet. When it comes to white wines, there's a reason why they go best with seafood, chicken, turkey, etc. These are usually lighter meals, and as such are complemented well by the more subtle flavors of white wines. It is usually the sauces these meals are prepared in which help determine the wine to be enjoyed. The Alsace region has a great Pinot Blanc, which has a spicy taste to it, and thus it goes well with a turkey dish flavored with paprika.
One should not count out a Burgundy, though, as it has its place among spicier poultry dishes. There are some forms of poultry which are richer than others, and duck is a good example. Dishes like this are best served with an acidic wine, such as those from the Sangiovese area of Tuscany. If you're going for a grilled chicken or turkey dish, though, you should probably choose a German Riesling or Chardonnay. Sometimes, people focus too much on what meats to serve with wine.
Cheese and fruit are often forgotten, but these foods can bring out a wine's flavor in different ways than meats can. There is an old tradition followed by many Portuguese involving serving a high quality Port with fruity desserts. A touch of a fine Gewurztraminer can often bring out the best in some of the stronger cheeses on the market. Perhaps you're looking for something to complement your bisque, or cream based soup. You can't go wrong with a Chardonnay, with its hint of apple or pear flavor.
But, perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc would be more to your liking, as it has vegetable undertones and would emphasize the flavors of your soup.
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about this as well as wine gift baskets at http://www.gourmetgiftbasketsplus.com