White Wine Pairs Better with Cheese Than Red Wine, Scientists Say

White wine has long been in the purple shadow of red red wine when it comes to cheese pairings, but the tides are slowly turning.
November 11, 2016, 9:10am

White wine has long been in the long, dark, purple shadow cast by red wine, but the tides are slowly turning. The health benefits of white wine have turned out to be on par with those of red and, heck, you can even use it to make a mean tempura batter.

And now, here comes a little more research vindicating the qualities of white wine. This time, it's courtesy of the Centre for Taste and Feeding Behavior, in the heart of Burgundian wine country in Dijon.


Titled "Use of Multi-Intake Temporal Dominance of Sensations to Evaluate the Influence of Cheese on Wine Perception"—a fancy way of saying "this is how white wine affects the taste of cheese"—the results of the study will not be surprising to anyone who likes to likes to drink a little pinot greege with their food.

READ MORE: White Wine Is Just as Good for You as Red

In what sounds like the best experimental design ever, 31 participants were asked to take three sips each of Pacherenc, Sancerre, Bourgogne, and Madiran wines. Then, they were asked to drink the same wines with bites of Epoisses, Comté, Roquefort, and Crottin de Chavignol in between.

What they found, much to the chagrin of Finer Things Clubs everywhere, was that white wine appears to pair better (insofar as anything can be objective when it comes to wine perception) with cheese than red wine.

To measure the perception of wine, scientists used a method called multi-intake temporal dominance of sensations (TDS), in which participants had to quickly associate the taste in their mouth with a word on a screen, as that taste evolves. Then, they were asked to subjectively rate the wine, with and without the wide range of cheeses.

Taken together, these data gave scientists a glimpse into how the taste of cheese evolves as it interacts with wine. They found that the white wines were generally perceived as more pleasant and refreshing than reds when consumed with cheese. Drinkers actually preferred the taste of the cheeses with white wine to cheese just on its own.

And this research has implications far beyond the world of wine. "This protocol could be a first approach toward developing an interesting tool for the food sector which would help to better understand perception of the impact of one food product on another, leading eventually to a better description of a whole meal," authors wrote.

So, who knows? Maybe one day we'll be pumping information into an algorithm that can tell us which foods and which wines we will like more. The future might actually be OK.