Cheese masks the subtle flavors that mark out a good wine
Researchers say organizers who provide quality wine for wine-and-cheese parties are wasting their money. “Cheese masks the subtle flavors that mark out a good wine, so your guests won’t be able to tell that you are serving them cheap stuff,” New Scientist magazine reported. Bernice Madrigal-Galan and Hildegarde Heymann at the University of California, presented trained wine tasters with cheap and expensive versions of four different varieties of wine. The tasters evaluated the strength of various flavors and aromas in each wine both alone and when preceded by eight different cheeses. They found that cheese suppressed just about everything, including berry and oak flavors, sourness and astringency. Only butter aroma was enhanced by cheese, and that was probably because cheese itself contains the molecule responsible for a buttery wine aroma, Dr Heymann said. Strong cheeses suppressed flavors more than milder cheeses, but flavors of all wines were suppressed.
“There are no magical wine and cheese ‘pairings’,” New Scientist reported. Dr Heymann suggested that proteins in the cheese might bind to flavor molecules in the wine, or that fat from the cheese might coat the mouth, deadening the tasters’ perception of the wines’ flavors.
The study findings will presented in the online American Journal of Oenology and Viticulture in March.