Traditional pairings. Generally, a typical regional or local dish should be paired to a wine of the same area to create an affinity of scents and flavours.
Opposites and harmonious flavour pairings. The most enjoyable type of pairing is when the wine expresses characteristics that are the opposite to those of the food. When a plate is particularly high in fat (Zampone, for example), its ideal pairing is with a red wine that is fresh (in the sense of the wine’s level of acidity) and tangy, counteracting the greasiness of the food, thereby cleaning the mouth and lightening an otherwise heavy dish. Sweet tastes in foods tend to prevail, especially in the case of desserts. Since there are no dry wines that can withstand comparison with the character of a sweet dessert, it is decidedly more advisable to complement the sugar content of this sort of by pairing it with a sweet wine (a harmonious pairing of sweet dish with sweet wine). Generally, the body of a wine should be proportional to the structure of the dish, so a relatively complex dish whose preparation is elaborate because of the way it is cooked, the amount or uniqueness of its ingredients, should be paired with an equally complex and robust wine, with good ageing, that will not be dominated by the personality of the food. Consequently, a light and delicate dish must not be “smothered” by wines that have too sophisticated or whose flavour is too pronounced, but will combine with a wine that is plain, light and youthful. Ideally, every dish should be accompanied by a different wine, so each different course should have a different wine, because every dish has its own characteristic flavour.
Pairing by season. This is based on the logic that dishes that are typical in winter will not be prepared in the summer and vice versa. The winter is a time for high-fat dishes, while light dishes are favoured in the summer and this tells us that in winter we will drink fewer cool white wines, because they are more suited to typical summer and sea dishes!