Know that opposites make great combinations
It’s true in love, and sometimes it’s also true in the sweet love being made between wine and food. Rich, cheesy, creamy dishes are often best served with a wine that’s the polar opposite; vibrant, piquant, perky, and flavorful. Going the other way, lighter meats like chicken can sometimes pair beautifully with big red wines, provided that the meat is prepared in as flavorful a manner as possible (like long, slow roasting).
Use a sweet wine to temper spice
Spicy dishes are notoriously difficult to pair up with wine, as they can hit with a devastating one-two combo of overpowering a wine’s flavors while also overemphasizing the wine’s alcohol. But there’s a secret weapon here, and that weapon is sugar. Wine with even a hint of residual sweetness (sugars leftover from fermentation that didn’t turn into alcohol) can help to tame spices without the wine losing its flavor.