Anxiety over which wine pairs properly with your food can be stifling, but the Wall Street Journal suggests that it just takes a few basic rules of thumbs to keep you in the money zone. Writer Lettie Teague asked a number of experts to offer some layman-friendly guidance on the matter of pairing, and she came away with a few useful tips to keep in mind when you’re devising a menu or just grabbing a meal with a friend.

  • To fool-proof your choice, sommelier and Perfect Pairings author Evan Goldstein recommends looking for “moderate alcohol, moderate to high acidity, soft tannins and little or no oak.” His go-tos include Barbera, Gamay, and Pinot Noir.
  • Sommelier Alpana Singh advises looking for reds that one can “see through,” and sticking with Pinot Gris for its versatility, as well as certain Chenin Blanc, when it comes to white wines. Specifically for red wines, Singh adds to Goldstein’s three with another two: Cabernet Franc from the Loire and Frappato from Sicily.
  • Thomas Pastuszak, wine director at New York restaurant Nomad, observes “the best match [isn’t] between wine and food at all but between wine and diner.”

[via The Wall Street Journal]