There’s no great science going on when you pair up wine with food. The key to matching flavours is surprisingly simple, with just six basic flavour profiles to work with. Eyes down, bottoms up…

Acid with acid

Acid wines and foods work well together, unlike bitter and bitter. If you’re drinking a sweet wine with, say, a tomato flan and a vinaigrette salad, the wine will fall way behind the food and seem flat and flabby. Think about how sharp the food and the wine are and pair them up.

Sweet with salty

If you’re a fan of salted caramel and all that, then think about how well a sweeter wine will go with Asian food, or with salted ham or blue cheeses. Riesling could well be your best chum here.

Bitter with bitter

This combo just doesn’t go. Many people think red wine and dark chocolate are BFFs, but this is a misguided trend. If you must pair red with chocolate, make sure it’s not so dark – you need some fat and sugar to take down the bitterness.

Bitter and fat

This is the eternal steak and red combo. This does work. Think about how to balance those tannins out with some fat – it could be from a steak, or from a vegetarian croquette – but you need some oil or fat to do this. You also need to add a counterpoint – if your red has fruity undertones, add some tomatoes to complement them.

Acid and fat

A dry white or a Champagne helps to de-glaze a fatty dish as well as to add some complexity to the flavors. This is why fatty sauces tend to be made with whites rather than reds. If you’re having a quiche or a cheesecake, you need a light, dry, nimble little white.

Alcohol and fat

This might seem odd, but alcohol is a flavor in its own right, especially in stronger wines and ports. However, often the alcohol taste can come across as acid, not just alcohol, so there’s quite a crossover. Just don’t use a strong wine to cut through fat, as you’ll end up very drunk. Try a port or a tot of strong Zinfandel to accompany a Pavlova or profiteroles.