Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wine and Cheese - Not a Match
I just love this stuff! There is so much dogma associated with wine appreciation, very little of which is supported by peer reviewed research. A report in the New Scientist comments on the dogma breaking work of Bernice Madrigal-Galan and Hildegarde Heymann of the University of California at Davis. Madrigal-Galan and Heymann had trained wine tasters evaluate the strength of various flavors and aromas in cheap and expensive versions of four different varieties of wine either alone and when preceded by eight different cheeses. The result was that the cheese suppressed many flavors, including berry and oak, and taste and tactile perception of sourness and astringency. “Heymann suggests that proteins in the cheese may bind to flavour molecules in the wine, or that fat from the cheese may coat the mouth, deadening the tasters' perception of the wines' flavours.” The research will appear online in March in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture.

While most of us appreciate that wine and food can be a great mix, a little thought should make anyone realize that adding additional flavors, like food, into tasting a wine will affect the perception of what is actually in the bottle. I'm off to a big gun Burgundy tasting tonight – I wonder if they will serve any cheese? I’ll have to take a copy of this along. Oh yes, there will be a lot of huffing and puffing about it. EDIT: Why am I not surprised that the huffing and puffing has started already?

Thanks to Dave at Vinosense for posting a commentary on the link to this research.

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