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Why We Pair Wine With Cheese

The Charming History Behind Why We Pair Wine With Cheese

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve enjoyed a glass of wine together with a plate of cheese, but you may be surprised to know that this perfect combination has been around for a long time. Cheese was discovered around 10,000 years ago, when fermentation was first used to make milk last longer while wine started tempting people a mere 2,000 years later! 

Have you ever wondered why we pair wine and cheese? 

What Grows Together Goes Together

This adage goes a long way toward explaining how a lot of dishes came about. In this case, European villagers often grew grapevines and raised milking cows on the same property. 

Soon, the Italian wine regions came up with these traditional pairings:

  • Loire French goat cheese with Loire SancerreThese match perfectly thanks to the grassy, minerally qualities of the Sancerre, which perfectly enhance the tangy and earthy nuances of this goat cheese from this famous river valley. 
  • Casciotta d’Urbino PDO cheese with Lumavite LAFRENIOS FALERIO D.O.C. – The complexity of the Trebbiano, Pecorino, and Passerina grapes in this vintage blends with the citrus, fresh green grass, and nutty flavor of this crumbly Italian cheese.
  • Manchego Semicurado cheese with Verdejo. Here, the Verdejo’s crisp, aromatic, citrus tones pairs superbly with the Manchego’s mild acidity. Both are from the region of La Mancha. 

The Science Behind Wine and Cheese Pairings 

Although winemaking and cheesemaking flourish together, they still possess an “opposites attract” relationship. Think about the contrast between the fatty, savory flavor of cheese and the acidity and fruity notes of wine. 

Whether you take a sip of wine or nibble on a piece of cheese first, they still come together so magically. It’s no wonder wine and cheese, together and separately, have been delighting us for millennia.

Puzzled by this, scientists have researched the science behind this mouthwatering combination.

Astringent and Fat Substances Combined 

You probably know the rule of thumb that goes “red wine with red meat,” suggesting that high tannin wines should be balanced with fatty food. This food tip prompted researchers from the National Institutes of Health to study in 2012 how astringent substances such as wine can break down proteins in the mouth, acting as a “palate cleanser.” 

Scientists wanted to find out how the “mouthfeel” sensation plays a role in how individuals perceive food pairings. They concluded that when flavors that sit far on the opposite sides of the taste scale are combined, they can potentially be perceived as a good match.

Influence of Cheese on Wine Perception

Apparently, this food pairing continues to intrigue researchers. In 2016, a team in France conducted a study to observe the Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS) for wine and cheese pairings. 

A group of 31 French wine and cheese consumers were asked to evaluate four wine varietals (Bourgogne, Madiran, Pacherenc, and Sancerre) paired with four types of cheese (Comté, Epoisses, Crottin de Chavignol, and Roquefort). 

The scientist observed that the participants’ observations about the wine changed significantly while consuming cheese compared to when they drank each wine by itself.

 

While it’s fascinating to learn about the scientific research and history of wine and cheese pairings, combining these delicacies is genuinely an art form. Take a look at our wine selection and find the best match for your next wine and cheese pairing.

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