First off know what you’re eating. In general, lighter wines go with lighter foods. In other words, chicken, seafood, and creamy white sauces go with whites or roses. Whereas full-bodied reds go with heavier foods like red meat and anything with a tomato-based sauce.
Of course, this is just a beginner rule. You can break this by pairing a light-bodied red with a chicken or fish, or a full white with red meat. For example if you’re eating spicier food, Cajun or Indian for example, you can try a sweeter white like Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.
After you have figured out what you’re eating, you need to take the region into consideration. The soil, the sun, and the temperature significantly effects the flavor of te grapes which will of course affect the flavor of the wine. Regions like California, Spain, South Africa, and Australia tend to produce less tannic fruitier wines, while France and Italy tend to produce wines that are more tannic.
Next off you need to choose your varietal. Varietal simply refers to the kind of grape. Merlot is a lighter red, very popular with beginner drinkers. Cabernet and Pinot are both full and rich and tend to go with heavier foods. Zinfandel is a lighter, fruitier red specific to California. Syrah, (or Shiraz as it’s known in Australia), are big full yet not too heavy reds.
As for the whites, chardonnay is a buttery wine that pairs quite well with white meat and creamy sauces. Sauvignon Blanc is a sharp white great for warmer weather. Riesling is a great spicy, floral wine from Germany, although you can also get it from the Alsace region of France or Austria.