6. Identify Most Expressive Components
When considering a dish, consider its most expressive components. For example, fillet of sole with cream sauce and Chardonnay.
In other words, when deciding if your dish is sweet, acidic, rich/meaty/ heavy, bitter, light, intensely flavored or some combination, don't look to its main ingredient. Consider the dish as a whole, identify the dominant flavors and textures, and then let those elements inform your wine choice.
In this example, the light fish might suggest a light wine. But the most expressive, or dominant, component of the dish isn't the fish—it's the cream sauce. And since that's rich, according to General Pairing Tip 4
, the dish would be best with a rich wine, like Chardonnay.