Influences on Wine Pairing

Why do we pair wine?

Many wine consumers are experts as to the correct pairings between wine and cheese. People around the world pair wine based on the local cuisine of their region but not everyone understands the premise as to why “good” wine is not imported to that region. Many consumers tend to pair local wines and local cheeses, not only because of flavors but also because of terroir. Terroir was introduced over a century ago when farmers settled on the land that is known for their wine. People in that era could easily determine where a wine was grown, because of the terroir. Now, it is an art to be able to determine what region it was produced in. Terroir has been known to be an influential factor to pairings between wine and cheese around the world.

Few parts of the world produce the well-known wines we respect today. Cultures vary in the foods that pair with wines, because of the cuisine that each entails. Several studies have been researched on what has become a controversial topic, wine and cheese pairing. Though several studies have been done by various researchers, many concluded that pairings are generally based on personal preference, complementary flavors, and cultural views on wine.

Throughout the years, people have developed their own “system” of pairing wine. Some pair wine with exquisite hors d’oeuvres, while others drink wine with everyday meals, culture and terroir continue to greatly impact those pairings. Culture determines how wine is paired based on the local cuisine and flavors, while terroir determines why wine is paired based on the characteristics and aromas that are produce by the soils. Few people today have the expertise to determine the “best” wine pairings, though many studies have been done using only personal opinion. Even though few scientific studies have been conducted, unexperienced palates continue to follow the existing results.

Soil Composition

Deep, complex root systems tend to create the most desirable varieties along with the soil structure. Many wine grape varieties require specific amounts of nutrients, including sunlight, soil minerals, and water.

Personal Palate

The level of expertise a given person impacts how well they pair wine with food. The hue of cheese often prompts what wine it was paired with, though it greatly depends on how sensitive your palate is.

Culture

Wine consumed in different parts of the world is enjoyed for different cultural reasons. Some drink wine because it is alcoholic, while some appreciate wine and food as art.