Food and wine is like a good marriage. The best of both complement each other and one does not overpower. Ask for advice, but don’t be a slave to the experts. Drink what you prefer with which foods. That being said, here is a general guide:
1) With your salad, it depends on what kind of dressing you’re serving. Light wines, usually dry ones, are best with most kinds of salads. Reds are a bit acidic and too heavy. A nice Sauvignon Blanc or light Chardonnay is good.
2) Meals with fish as the main ingredient depend on what kind of sauce you’ve made. If you’ve cooked your fish in red wine—yes, some people do, especially in Mediterranean dishes—you’d probably like a red wine, full-bodied or light. If serving with a white, creamy sauce, a dry, white wine would be your best choice. Chardonnay aged in oak is a nice match for Sunday brunch and smoked fish.
3) Speaking of brunch, what about egg dishes? Of course champagne is a natural choice. It suits the time of day and the texture of any egg dish, particularly soufflés or fluffy omelets.
4) What about the secret sauce? If it’s rich and creamy then Chardonnay or another robust white is perfect. (Chardonnay is great with butter, period.) Skip fruity wines.
5) Looking for balance? Your best bet for a hearty meal such as steak, pot roast, or beef bourguignon, is that the meal is served with a tasty red. A rich red such as cabernet is a great choice.
6) Here we digress. If you’re having spicy, hot food… really? Nothing beats a cold beer. If you’re totally not into beer, then get a sweeter white wine such as a Pinot Grigio or Riesling to balance the spice.
7) Fruits are best with champagne, in our humble opinion, but any light white wine you enjoy works. Favorite friends of fruit, any kind of cheese, also work well with light wine. Reds are generally too overwhelming.
Now you have the general guidelines. Go out and break some rules and create your own!