With all the thousands of wines in hundreds of styles out there, you can't be expected to remember all the wines and how they pair with food. To make it easier for you, here is a shorter list of a few types of wine that are on most restaurant wine lists and that are consistently reliable choices with food.

Reliable Wine Choices when Ordering in a Restaurant
When You Want . . . Order . . .
A crisp, dry white wine that isn't very flavorful to accompany delicately flavored fish or seafood Soave, Pinot Grigio, or Sancerre
Dry, flavorful white wine that's perfect with mussels and other shellfish Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa or New Zealand or an Albariño from Spain
Medium-bodied, characterful, dry white wine for simple poultry, risotto, and dishes that are medium in weight Mâcon-Villages, St.-Véran, Sancerre, or Pouilly-Fuissé
Full-bodied, rich white wine for lobster or rich chicken entrées California or Australian Chardonnay
Medium-dry white wine for Asian-inspired dishes Chenin Blanc, Vouvray, or German Riesling
Easy-drinking, inexpensive red, perfect with roast chicken Beaujolais
Versatile, flavorful, relatively inexpensive red that can stand up to spicy food California Red Zinfandel
A lighter red that's delicious, young, and works with all sorts of light- and medium-intensity foods Oregon Pinot Noir, Malbec
The basic French version of Pinot Noir; try it with simple cuts of steak Bourgogne Rouge
Dry, spicy, grapey, and relatively inexpensive red wine that's perfect with pizza Barbera, Dolcetto
A very dry, medium-bodied red that's great with pasta and simple cuts of meat Chianti Classico