Most people would agree that wine and cheese is the perfect pairing, but in reality, the two don’t often work together. In some cases, the combination is positively gross.
First, a disclaimer. Let us acknowledge that drinks pairing is very personal. You are, of course, entitled to do what you want, and this is as much opinion as it is science.
Still, we’re not sure who, and when, decided that cheese and wine were meant for each other. Wine writer and delicious. magazine drinks editor Mike Bennie thinks it was borne from convention, fostered by lack of imagination, and encouraged by a perpetuation of classic wine and food thinking (i.e., cheese comes at the end of a meal when the heavy reds do, too). Wine educator and writer Clare Burder thinks that we took the few wine and cheese pairings that do work and concluded that they all do.
Now, consider this.
“When you eat cheese, you get a lactic build-up in your palate, which ends up negating a lot of the nuance in wine,” says Bennie. “If you’re drinking a big red and you have a cheddar alongside it, the creaminess of the cheddar will end up staining your palate in a way that means you won’t be able to appreciate the wine. Nor will the wine be able to cut through that creaminess in order to refresh your palate and encourage another mouthful.
“It creates a sluggish, pleasure-less experience, like stuffing cottage cheese through fishnet stockings. It’s just not the right combo in terms of the way things fit in your mouth.”