It's fun to experiment trying different wines with different foods. Following a few simple guidelines, you can find a wine that will enhance the food on the table. With experience, you can devise a spectacular match that can dramatically improve both the dish and the wine, creating a memorable occasion. (Check out Wine Spectator's Sept. 30 issue for some fantastic dessert recipes and wine pairings.)
But most of us drink only a small portion of a glass of wine with the food, while taking many sips before and after consuming the dish it’s paired with. And most of the time, you spend more time talking with your fellow diners than you do analyzing the pairings. So how much does it really matter?