A few simple concepts to guide your creativity.
Acidic foods will increase the perception of body, sweetness, and fruit in your wine, but will decrease the perception of acidity.
As a general rule, acidic wines pair well with acidic foods. Pair acidic foods like lemon vinaigrette, fresh tomatoes, or ceviche with wines that are high in acid, like Sauvignon blanc, Chenin blanc, or a dry Riesling. The acid component in the dish will make wines that might normally make you pucker, feel much more approachable and well balanced.
Bitterness in foods will increase the perception of bitterness in your wine.
Avoid pairing bitter foods like broccoli, radicchio, or kale with wines that are highly tannic or oaked, like certain young Cabernet Sauvignons, Malbecs, or other Bordeaux blends. Instead, try pairing bitter foods with a light crisp white wine, a rosé, or a more fruit-forward red. For particularly bitter greens, like raw kale or radicchio, think about ingredients you can add to the recipe to make the dish more wine-friendly - ingredients that add salt, fat, or a touch of sweetness.
Salty foods will increase the perception of body, fruit flavors, and the heat from alcohol in your wine, but will decrease the perception of bitterness, astringency, and acidity.
There's a reason why astringent and bitter wines, like many young Italian reds, do well with salty parmesan, and it's the same reason a (salty) seared steak does well with a young, tannic Napa Cabernet. It's the salt that "softens" these wines, making them seem more approachable, supple, and fruity than they would seem on their own. That said, you might want to steer clear of wines that already come across as fruit-forward, because that touch of salt might push them into the "fruit-bomb" category in a way you weren't expecting.
Umami in foods will increase the perception of bitterness, astringency, acidity, and alcoholic burn in your wine, but decrease the perception of body, sweetness, and fruitiness.
Pairing that comforting bowl of miso or chicken noodle soup with a big, bold red wine is simply not going to have the soothing effect you were looking for. Instead, umami-rich foods like miso, cooked mushrooms, cured meats, or roasted tomatoes can "turn up the volume" on the least pleasant qualities in a high alcohol and tannic wine. That said, with the addition of a little salt to the dish, we can counteract the negative effects of umami on a particular wine. Another approach - pair umami-rich dishes with wines that might otherwise seem overly fruity to you, like a warm climate Pinot Noir, Gamay, or Grenache.
Spiciness in foods will increase the perception of bitterness, astringency, acidity, and alcoholic burn in your wine, but decrease the perception of body, richness, and fruitiness.
Be careful with wines that are too tannic or high in alcohol as you load on the salsa or hot sauce. Stick with wines that are lighter, more fruit-forward, and refreshing instead. Even though spicy foods can increase the perception of acidity, I often find that spicy foods have a bit of acidity in the dish already, which helps balance the acidity in the wine. I often reach for whites like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Albarino, Torrontes, or lighter style reds, like Pinot or Gamay with my favorite spicy recipes.
Sweet foods will increase the perception of bitterness, astringency, acidity, and alcoholic burn in your wine, but decrease the perception of body, sweetness, and fruitiness.
A good rule for dealing with sweet foods is that your wine should be as sweet or sweeter than the dish in order for the pairing to work. So guess what, that wedding cake and dry champagne "classic pairing" is kind of a bust from a pairing perspective. When you have savory recipes with a touch of sweetness, reach for a wine that has strong fruit flavors or even a hint of sweetness, like an off-dry Riesling. And if you're still working on a bottle of red wine by the time dessert rolls around, consider sticking to more savory dessert options, like cheese or dark chocolate, rather than cakes or ice cream.