Basic Flavors found in wine
The basic flavors that occur in food are also found in wine which is, after all, another type of food. They are sweet, tart (sour, acidic), bitter (puckery, astringent sensation) and salty (which isn’t found in wine, but affects its flavor). In addition wine has alcohol which adds aromas and body, making the wine feel richer
The sugar that is present in grapes is converted during fermentation to differing degrees. A wine with very little sweetness is called "dry." Sweet white wines are Chenin Blanc, many Rieslings and Spumante. Sweet red wines include Lambrusco and Port.
If a dish is acidic — citrus or vinegar — then an acidic wine would be appropriate, although a lightly acidic dish can be balanced with a lightly sweet wine. Acidic white wines are Sauvignon Blanc and most sparkling wines. Acidity in wine cuts saltiness, so sparkling wines generally pair with salty foods better than less tart wines such as most red wines.
Tannins from the skins and sometimes stems of grapes and the oak barrels used for aging cause the bitter or astringent aftertaste in some red wines. Tannins mellow with age and are one of the components that add complexity to a mature wine. Foods with a prominent salty, sour or bitter taste will make a wine seem sweeter and less tannic. Bitter red wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel and Syrah.
Alcohol gives wine a sense of body and weight, the higher the alcohol, the more full-bodied the wine. Rich meat, fish or chicken dishes that include cream are well suited to full-bodied wines (13–15 percent alcohol) whereas light, simply prepared and flavored dishes pair better with low alcohol wines (7–10 percent).