Muhammad Ali and George Foreman might not agree but in my view the biggest rumble in the jungle is the food and wine match. As our cuisine becomes increasingly conflated, the old rules of the ring no longer apply. The classic pairing of white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat is still a good right-hand jab, but modern cooking techniques, fusion sauces and exotic accompaniments convolute that old European match-up. For example, crispy Cantonese roast chicken, fiery Sichuan chicken and Bresse chicken with savoury black truffle sauce can't possibly stand in the ring with white wine. A simple strategy is to tackle the match by weight and richness. When ordering wine, assess whether the meal is in the featherweight or heavyweight class. In other words, is the meal light with simple flavours or heavy and rich? If it's light and simple, seek a light-bodied wine. If it's heavy and rich, opt for a full-bodied wine. It sounds like an easy knock-out but when perusing a wine list, how do you know which wines are light and and which are full bodied? In general, full-bodied wines are produced in warmer climates and light-bodied wines in cool regions. There are a number of reasons why climate is likely to determine a wine's weight and richness. Firstly, the higher the wine's alcohol levels, the fuller the body. Thus a wine with a 14.5 per cent alcohol content will be fuller-bodied than a wine with 11.5 per cent. Unless the winemaker tinkers with the alcohol levels, cool climates produce wines with lower alcohol levels and warm climates produce wines with higher levels. This is because alcohol is derived from a grape's sugar content and warm climates tend to produce sweeter grapes. Another factor contributing to a wine's weight or body is fruit development. As grapes ripen, they become increasingly flavourful. Thus, grapes grown in warmer climates are likely to have more robust flavours while those grown in cooler areas typically struggle to ripen, resulting in a light, delicate taste. Grape skins and size also play a role in the weight. Just as human skin can become leathery and coarse with exposure to the sun, grape skins thicken in the same way. Thick skins and small berry sizes give rise to heavyweight flavour. Because most warm-weather wine regions do not often experience summer rain, the berries are likely to be small and thick-skinned. Wines produced in hot climates often derive extra flavour from a slight raisin effect. If the producer chooses to leave the grapes on the vine a few extra days before harvesting, they shrivel slightly, concentrating the flavours even more. This same effect can be seen when comparing the taste of fresh tomatoes with the concentrated flavours of dried tomatoes. Matching food and wine can be a simple knock-out as long as you know your ring geography. The closer a wine region is to the equator, the better it will match heavyweight foods. There are a few exceptions - this is wine after all - but a climate-based approach is a fairly safe way to clinch the wine-matching title. Of course, there's always the rope-a-dope strategy: ask someone else to select the wine, but be prepared to take a heavy financial punch.