This guy says the four main variables in wine pairings are :
- - acidity
- - sweetness
- - alcohol level
- - astringency or tannins (for red wine)
And I think it's refreshing, and also very sensible to think about wine in such "basic" terms. Even if you can detect all kinds of interesting flavours in wine, like world-class sommeliers do, I think those four variables are definitely going to influence your experience a lot more than anything else about the wine. Who cares if it has a hint of blueberry muffin or ripe apricot ? If it's too sweet or too acidic for your dish, you won't appreciate it as much.
Wouldn't it be nice if, in addition to alcoholic content, the labels on wine bottles clearly displayed the amount of sweetness, acidity, and astringency ? I'm talking about real numbers with some kind of scale. For instance, we already label bottles of vinegar with their acidity level, why not do the same for wine ? On bottles of Aszú Tokaji wine from Hungary, there's a number of puttonyos that range from 3 to 6, which give you a good idea of how sweet the wine is. I don't know of any other wine that gives you that kind of information on its label.
For me, the usual experience of buying a wine is looking at the prices, and reading the vague descriptions and suggested pairings on the labels.