The Charming History Behind Why We Pair Wine With Cheese

Two glasses of red wine with cheese and grapes near the fireplace
Two glasses of red wine with cheese and grapes near the fireplace

Wine has a long history of being served at the dinner table, and this is why it has managed to “sneak” its way into culinary traditions as well. Pairing wine with food has become then only about finding what goes well together. It is now categorized as art. The most popular pairings are between wine and cheese. In fact, sommeliers spend years training on how to find the best wine and cheese pairings.

How It All Started

As previously mentioned, wine has been around the dinner table for centuries. Every lord and king had someone in the dining room whose job was solely to make sure that the wine cups don’t go empty. The wine didn’t only help people socialize and feel better, but it also represented wealth and hospitality. That’s how important wine was to the high-class.

Pairing wine with cheese dates back to the time of the early British wine merchants. There are historical records that prove British wine merchants learned how to blend wine with cheese in order to get people to enjoy the taste and buy more wine. People of the high class took this to the next level because they enjoyed the taste and also because pairing wine with cheese was seen as a luxury.

The Influence of Regions on Wine & Cheese Pairing

Historical records show that wine and cheese have been served together for hundreds of years. What’s interesting about this is that each region had a different “ideal pairing.” Historians noticed that there is a direct correlation between the region and pairings. There is a good reason behind this.

Each region excelled at making different kinds of cheese and wine. For example, the French are famous for producing some of the world’s best Brie. On the other hand, we have the Italian regions historians found that Asiago cheese was often paired with the Brunello and Chianti wines.

Why Wine & Cheese Go So Well Together?

If you ever had a glass of red wine with a steak at the dinner table, you probably know how good wine mixes with certain foods. The science behind this is that wine acts as a palate cleanser between each bite. However, there’s more to it. Pairing certain types of cheese with specific wines will help bring out the best flavors.

For example, Sauvignon Blanc is often paired with goat cheese. The citrus and mineral notes found in Sauvignon Blanc will bring the tasting experience to the next level. This is because the wine’s aromatic flavors make the herbal notes in the goat cheese stand out. There are many other amazing wine and cheese pairings that will blow you away, and you can find more here.

A study performed by the National Institutes of Health determined that pairing wine with cheese is so beloved because it helps people interpret food better. This is because of a factor called “mouthfeel.” The factor represents the way that food feels in the mouth. Scientists believe that drinking sips of wine between bites will help the cheese feel and taste better.

Editor's Choice