As far as amred that pairs well with pasta, Selecman recommends a barbera (a slightly lesser-known Italian varietal), especially with tomato-based dishes. Like a pinot noir, it's light and versatile -- but since it's Italian, it's an even more natural match for pasta. It was basically made to complement the dish.
"For white, any dry, basic pinot grigio would totally work," Selecman said. "One that I like, that's a little outside the box, is called gaby. It's from the same general area that Barbera is grown. It's going to be dry, easy to drink, and almost always under $20. It's a great table white wine."
The utility player... when you don't know what's for dinner:
So what if you're going to a dinner party, and you have no idea what's going to be on your plate?
"The most popular red grape in Spain is the tempranillo, and you can get bottles from all over the country. But historically, the best spot for it is Rioja," Selecman said. "If you can find a bottle from Rioja... I call it 'the girl next door wine.' People laugh, but it's a generally forgotten wine. It goes with everything. It's always available. And it's never expensive."
It can pair well with everything from charcuterie and cheese, to hearty stews, to vegetarian dishes. It works with everything. A true utility player.