Cabernet Sauvignon is the name of both the grape and the wine it produces. The primary taste of this wine is black currant, but other overtones may include blackberry and mint.
Cabernets are hearty and rich and thus go best with tomato-based red sauces.
Chianti is a strong, bold red wine that is perfectly suited for flavorful, well-seasoned sauces. It pairs best with tomato-based red sauces, but will also work with cream- or oil-based sauces.
Not quite as harsh as other reds, merlot is mellow with flavors of plums, black cherry, violets, and orange. It is best paired with tomato-based red sauces.
Pinot Noir is a light red wine with flavors that include earth, leather, vanilla (from the oak), and jam. This versatile wine goes well with tomato-based red sauces, but will also work with cream- or oil-based sauces.
Sangiovese is a hefty red wine that goes wonderfully with spicy Italian dishes. Best paired with tomato-based red sauces, it will also work with cream- or oil-based sauces.
Zinfandel is a deep red wine. Spicy and peppery, with a hint of berries or dark cherries, this wine goes best with thick, tomato-based red sauces.
Depending on where it's grown and how it's processed, this white wine can taste semi-sweet or sour, heady or light. Typical flavors are apple, tangerine, lemon, lime, melon, and oak. Like most white wines, it is best paired with cream- or oil-based sauces, but can also be served with a light, tomato-based red sauce.
Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are actually the same white grape, with two different names: In Italy and California this wine is known as Pinot Grigio, while in Oregon and France it's known as Pinot Gris. This wine is best paired with cream- or oil-based sauces, but can hold its own with tomato-based red sauces, as well.
Riesling is usually made to be a sweet wine, although it can also create a dry wine as well. The taste of this wine is affected by where it is grown - Californian Rieslings tend to be dry and have a melony taste, while German Rieslings are more tart and 'grapefruity'. Pair Riesling with cream- or oil-based sauces.
Sauvignon Blanc/Fume Blanc
Typically very light, this wine often tastes of grass and apple, and has a soft, smoky flavor. Sauvignon Blancs tend to be crisp and acidic, which make them a nice match for cream- or oil-based sauces.