Wine and cheese experts provide recommendations for ideal parings using sensory scale

10/25/05

Oct. 26, 2005 - Twenty-seven food and wine professionals evaluated selected wines and cheeses to determine ideal parings based on a scientific sensory methodology. This novel work is published in the Journal of Food Quality.

Nine award winning Canadian artisan cheeses and 18 wines from British Columbia, Canada were paired together and judges were asked to select ideal matches based on a deviation-from-ideal scale. An ideal match would be scored in the center of the scale, whereas if the wine or cheese dominated, they were scored at either ends of the scale.

The wines included light fruity whites, oaked Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet blends, as well as late harvest and ice wines.

As reflected by the smallest scale deviations, the most versatile white wine was the Riesling, followed by the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The most difficult wines to pair were the late harvest, ice and port wines. The Blue Benedictine, Oka and provolone cheeses were most suitably matched with these wines, supporting the general rule that stronger flavored cheeses tend to pair best with stronger flavored wines, according to researchers. The white wines in general tended to pair better with the cheeses while the ice and late harvest wines dominated the pairs.

"Wine and cheese pairing has wide spread popular usage and yet people are often uncertain about what parings work together," says lead author of the study, Marjorie King. Along with co-author Margaret Cliff, she conducts workshops in wine flavor and defect recognition. "This work emphasized the wide spread variation in individual preference for different wine and cheese pairings among professionals in the food and wine industry. This should encourage individuals to experiment to find their own preference and to give them the confidence to trust their own judgment."

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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