When organising a dinner party, it's common practice for the host to think about pairing the right type of wines with each different course. However, something that really should be given thought at the planning stage is to think about the pairing of the right wine with the person or people being invited to dinner. As these are your friends or family, you want to please them and some individuals may not care for the heaviness of a port, or the robustness of a full bodied red wine, perhaps you know that they would prefer the dry, more delicate white wines.
Also, when serving more than one wine during a multiple course meal, it's highly recommended, that you think about the order of the wines for guests to enjoy. A good rule of thumb to follow that is traditionally advised by wine experts is to ensure that the lighter wines are served with the starters and early courses, before turning up the volume with the more full-bodied types with the main course.
Some examples, of the lighter wines with dishes are usually found among the whites and rosé wines, such as a Pinot Grigio or a Grenache. A good Pinot Grigio will have hints of light fruits such as pear, honeydew melon and pink grapefruits. Whereas a Grenache Rose will please guests with its subtle red summer berries and strawberry flavours.
Among pleasant reds that are usually safe bets to choose from are lighter to fuller a Pinot Noir to a Merlot. However, the old rule of reds with beef, whites with fish and poultry still has a lot of merit and is a good general guide to use. For either situation, choose the best wine you can afford as a starting point; more expensive wines often are higher quality, with more subtle flavours and aromas but the deciding factor ultimately is your budget.
When serving red meats such as beef, venison or duck, you need to think about the relative strengths of flavour and aroma of the dish. To complement those flavours, serve a powerful wine with powerful dishes; or if you want to contrast the flavours in the dish, choose a lighter wine which doesn't overpower the meal.
There's truth in the tradition that whites go well with fish and poultry. Both the colour and aromas influence taste and lighter wines complement the lighter meal. But don't forget that the sauces used in creating such dishes influence the decision too. A spicy Pinot Grigio from California would accompany a chicken dish that's been spiced up by paprika.