I had, what I thought, was an amazing realization about food and wine pairing the other night while I ate some pizza at home with the family. It seems so basic and might be a little difficult to explain but here goes:
We were finishing a bottle of Pinot from the previous day which went well with the pizza -- no big deal, a nice, simple Pinot with pizza. Then, I poured a glass of one of our recent Cabernets which had all the telltale aromas of a serious, Napa Valley Cab: full, deep, blackberry, black olive aromas, etc. My brain was clicking along, taking in the aroma, doing some analysis and enjoying it very much. Then I had a sip and DOING RRRZZ XZAXZ BWZXTKFZFZF! I hope you get the idea. It didn't go too well. The wine was outstanding outside of the pizza context but the flavors did not go well with it.
Now, I've made wine for almost 30 years and I don't claim to be a food and wine expert but I have been around the subject for a good, long time. I have had many mismatches in the past but here is my revelation: while a wine's aromas and flavors are normally in-line with each other, and while food flavors and wine flavors may agree or disagree, the AROMA of a wine has little to do with the food in a pairing sense. It certainly matters that you should be enjoying the combination, but, on a weighted scale, the flavor and flavor only are the factors that make a wine truly food-friendly. So, in a sense, when selecting a wine with a meal, it really is just the flavor profile that is the key and, downstream of that, the varietal aromas are more of a "fielder's choice" scenario.
This may seem obvious or like I have WAY too much time on my hands but it hit me like a brick. I had always, more or less, blithely accepted, as in the math formula, if A = B and B = C, then A = C. Well, absolutely not true here.