Cheese and wine parties have been given the scientific seal of approval after research finally confirmed what many already knew — enjoying the two together improves the taste of wine.
According to a new study by the Journal of Food Science, having a plate of cheese with your tipple of choice ” had an impact on dominance, duration of attributes and on preference for most wines”.
Given that the researchers are French—the study was conducted at France’s Centre de Sciences du Gout et de l’Alimentation, or Center for Taste and Feeding Behavior—the wines and cheeses sampled were pretty good ones. We’re talking about a nice Sancerre and a Burgundy matched with a tad of Roquefort and some comte. Not bad, c’est vrai? The participants were described as “frequent wine and cheese consumers from the city of Dijon.”
“The tasting protocol was based on multi-intake temporal dominance of sensations coupled with hedonic rating,” according to the researchers, which is a science-y way of saying that the subjects were asked to describe their dominant sensation after taking three consecutive sips of wine. Then the task was repeated, but the participants ate a piece of cheese between sips.
Turns out, the participants generally liked the wines better—and rated them to be less astringent—after eating the cheese, indicating that the creaminess of the fromage may have helped to cut the wine’s acidic notes. “None of the four cheeses included in the study had a negative impact on wine preference,” the researchers found.
“In short, when having a plate of assorted cheeses, the wine will probably taste better no matter which one they choose,” explains lead author Mara V. Galmarini.
Why do this type of research? The authors say that the sensory method developed in their work is unique, and can be used to help other researchers understand why consumers’ perception of one product may be changed when that product is consumed in combination with another.