I have indulged in wine over the last few years (a budding oenophile :) but the tasting has been more confined to standard varieties like Merlot, Cab and Pinot. This changed when a friend gifted me a Gewurztraminer. My first thought was, I love German beer but German wine?? Of course, Google is a great friend and I realized I have left out quite a few wine varieties, some of which btw, go very well with Indian food.
Cabernet Sauvignon: take a bit longer to reach maturation, high tannin content (particularly if young). Hence, it is good to have Cabs that are aged several years old to get a well rounded taste. Goes very well with red meat (starch foods like rice and pasta do not go well with Cabs at all). Cabs with high alcohol levels *do not* pair well with spicy foods. The hotness levels of the capsaicins present in spices like chili peppers actually increase the bitterness of the tannins.
Merlot: the best wine to start with for non-wine drinkers. Soft, medium-bodied red wine, and has lower tannin levels than Cab. Fairly versatile in food matchings.
Pinot Noir: lighter-bodied, delicate and fresh, very soft tannins. Difficult to cultivate, and hence there are very few Pinot-making regions. Lighter in color and goes best with Grilled fish, Japanese foods.
Malbec: a rich, dark and juicy medium-bodied wine and is adaptable enough to stand up to spicy Indian and Mexican food. Try with red meat particularly with BBQ sauces.
Syrah/Shiraz: has an abundance of fruit sensations and gripping tannins. These wines also have a variety of flavors depending upon the region cultivated and are generally powerfully flavored. Some varieties also have a spicy taste. Ideal with meat dishes.
Zinfadel: Red zinfadel is an American classic wine. Some have these wines have a higher alcohol content and hints of spice/fruit. Can be consumed pretty young, within a year or two. Goes well with typical American food: Grilled/BBQed meats, and Pizza. The white zinfadel is made from the same grapes, albeit a different process, and is light and refreshing with a sweetness/fruity taste to it.
White wines have lesser tannins, and it is also recommended to have white wine instead of red wine if you suffer from acid reflux.
Chardonnay: voluptuous, with some having a 'buttery' flavor. It is a favorite white wine and is generally dry. Does not contain strong aromas like some of the other white wines. Goes well with fish, and white meats like chicken/poultry.
Sauvignon blanc: a crisp, dry and fresh wine with herbal character. Has naturally high acidity. Food pairings include Seafood, Salads and also goes very well with Sushi.
Moscato: also called Muscat, it is sweet and fruity and hence a dessert wine. Has a sweet floral aroma. Very good after-dinner drink.
Pinot grigio: crisp, dry wine with good acid "bite". Good to have if you like acidic tasting drinks. Should be consumed young. Goes well with seafood.
Gewurztraminer: Fruity flavor with aromas of lychees. Full bodied, non-dry wine that goes well with Indian non-veg starters like Tandoori chicken, Asian cuisine, and Smoked salmon.
Riesling: slightly sweet, aromatic and much lighter than Chardannoy, tastes fresh. Most come from Germany which also has a classification system on the quality and sweetness of the wine. Ideal for Fish.