Wine and cheese do go hand in hand, study says

By Mary Ellen Shoup

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The study examines the sensory perception of four wines consumed by test participants both with and without four types of cheese. ©iStock/Evgeny Karandaev
The study examines the sensory perception of four wines consumed by test participants both with and without four types of cheese. ©iStock/Evgeny Karandaev

Related tags Taste

The Center for Taste and Feeding Behavior in Dijon, France, conducted a scientific study using a new sensory evaluation method to identify how exactly eating cheese with wine impacted an individual’s tastes and preferences.

The reason for the study arose from the lack of an established evaluation method to assess the sensory perception of consuming wine with cheese. Wine and cheese pairings are a popular gastronomic ritual, but little scientific evidence has been done to support this combination of food and beverage.

“Numerous recommendations can be found in gastronomic and popular literature on what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ wine—cheese combination,”​ authors of the study said.

“However, not that many research papers can be found on the impact of cheese on wine perception.”

Need for dynamic sensory evaluation

The study referenced past research conducted in 2002, in which authors studied a trained panel of nine assessors who first tasted the wine, then spat it out to evaluate the intensity of several attributes. The study participants then consumed a cheese sample, which was also expectorated before taking a sip of wine to evaluate once more the attributes of the wine. Panelists rinsed their mouths between wine and cheese taste tests.

Authors concluded this tasting protocol was crucial to evaluate wine attributes and complexities, but that in order to improve upon the method further studies should be conducted to focus on how people actually eat.

“Given that sensory perception is a dynamic phenomenon, the use of a dynamic approach would add information in relation to what happens during consumption,”​ the study stated.

“Moreover, the effect of cheese on wine might build up along intakes, making a multi-sip protocol probably more appropriate.”

Improving evaluation of cheese on wine perception

The aim of the study was to dynamically characterize four varieties of wine as they would be perceived when consumed with or without cheese. The tasting protocol was based on multi-intake temporal dominance of sensations (TDS) coupled with hedonic (pleasant or unpleasant sensations) rating.

TDS is a temporal multidimensional sensory method which consists of presenting the assessors in the study with a list of descriptors from which they can choose the one they consider the most dominant or striking perception at a given time. 

In the first sensory evaluation session, the wine and cheese consumers evaluated four different wines (Pacherenc, Sancerre, Bourgogne, and Madiran) over three consecutive sips. In the following sessions, study participants performed the same task, but this time with the addition of eating small portions of cheese (Epoisses, Comte, Roquefort, Crottin de Chavignol) between sips. All cheeses were tasted with all four wines over four sessions.

Authors of the study wrote that cheese consumption had an impact on how the subjects described the wine, and also impacted their preference. Study results also noted that none of the four cheeses evaluated had a negative impact on wine preference.

Results showed that cheese consumption with wine had an impact on dominance duration of attributes and on preference for most wines. For example, all subjects noted that the dominance duration of the Madiron wine reduced dominance duration of astringency and sourness, while increasing the duration of red fruit aroma.

Authors of the study concluded that although the number of consumers was too small to make extended general conclusions on wine preferences, significant changes were observed before and after cheese intake.


Source: Journal of Food Science, Available online Sept. 26, 2016

Use of Multi-Intake Temporal Dominance of Sensations (TDS) to Evaluate the Influence of Cheese on Wine Perception, Journal of Food Science

Mara V. Galmarini et al.

doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13500 

Related topics R&D Cheese

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