---Also consider the chemistry of the food. I was taught, for example, that cream-based foods (the chemical reaction of cream, wine, and saliva) will exagerate the perception of alcohol... often throwing a wine "out of balance".
Remember this: Food CHANGES the way wine tastes. Sounds easy enough right?
Important food/wine things to remember: sugar in the food will generally make the wine taste more astringent and bitter. Not desirable.
Salt in the food will generally mute wine, dumb it down. A balanced dish will actually work flavour wise with a lot more options in the wine world than people currently consider.
When pairing wines look at the dominant flavour profile in the food: salty/sweet/bitter/spicy. Understanding how the different factors effect ones palate and ultimately the wine you're drinking goes along way in pairing up wines with food.
Once you do that you can actually start to match wines with flavour profiles of wines. Rather than looking at varietals you can look at wines that fit within a category that is goiing to react well with your food.
If you were to place all the wines in the world into five basic categories: 1)fruity/sweet(perhaps off-dry or sweet) 2)light/med whites no oak 3)med bodied/full whites, oak influenced. 4)lighter reds 5)med/full reds.
And then understand why it is they are put in that category in the first place you would have no problem figuring out how/if certain foods and wines were going to react.
Or, just stick to white with chicken/fish, red with meat.