The pairing of wines and cheeses is an ages-old culinary practice in many parts of the world. But, wines also go with so many other edibles -- chocolates, charcuterie, nuts, olives ... Why wine and cheese?
A study published in this month's issue of the Journal of Food Science says researchers used a new sensory evaluation method that helped them find that consuming cheese while drinking wine impacted the description and preference of different wines.
In other words, eating cheese may increase how much someone likes the wine they are drinking.
The study was conducted in a country where wine and cheese have long reigned supreme -- in France -- at its Center for Taste and Feeding Behavior, using residents of the city of Dijon who identified themselves as frequent consumers of wines and cheeses. They evaluated four wines (Pacherenc, Sancerre, Bourgogne and Madiran) to show how perception and liking of wine change after cheese intake over several sips, generally in a manner and amount typical of common practice.
"Thanks to our research, we learned that the duration of the perception of astringency of a certain wine could be reduced after having cheese and that the four evaluated cheeses had the same effect. In short, when having a plate of assorted cheeses, the wine will probably taste better no matter which one they choose," lead author Mara V. Galmarini explained.
According to Phys.org, subjects were given a list of sensations to indicate what caught their attention (called the "dominant sensation") as they consumed the wine over three consecutive sips and after they swallowed. After the wines were initially evaluated, the task was repeated, but with a piece of cheese eaten between sips. Four different cheeses (Epoisses, Comté, Roquefort, Crottin de Chavignol) were sampled over different sessions with each wine.
"Results showed that cheese consumption had an impact on the description for all wines, and impacted preference for most. None of the four cheeses included in the study had a negative impact on wine preference.
Liking of each wine was increased or remained the same after cheese intake. In both red wines (Bourgogne and Madiran), the four cheeses decreased the duration of dominance of astringency and increased that of red fruits aroma. In the sweet white (Pacherenc), the duration of dominance of sweetness was not changed by cheese intake, but in the white dry wine, cheeses had an impact on the main aroma.
"According to the authors, the sensory method developed in their work can help build better understanding of how the perception of one product is changed when consumed in combination with another. This information can help food brands communicate their products' characteristics, thus improving consumers' experiences."