Research tasting notes on your chosen wines. Most winemakers offer tasting notes for their products. A local retailer also can be a good source of information.
Serve foods with priming ingredients, which help stimulate your guests’ palates. Apples pair well with chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, while chocolate can be tasty with cabernet sauvignon or merlot. Apples are suitable with white wines, while blackberries pair well with red wines -- light with light, dark with dark.
Consider acidity. Foods higher in acid pair better with wines higher in acid, such as pasta with marinara sauce and Chianti. Don't serve a wine high in acidity with a light or creamy sauce.
Plan menus based on people's four basic tastes -- sweet, sour, bitter and salty -- as well as their sense of smell. Priming ingredients help your guests determine the elements that give the wine its aroma.
Try different pairings. While certain wines and ingredients may pair well, many people just drink what they like best. So if the pairings don’t seem to be a match, don't worry.