Wine and cheese. It’s a classic pairing, like peanut butter and jelly but better. You may have had a cheese plate with a wine flight a dozen times, but do you know why your taste buds are so happy when you do? If you’re not curious now, stop reading. Grab a cheese plate and a glass of wine and have a great evening enjoying them. If you are curious, read on! We’re going to chat about the science behind this beautiful pairing.

One of the big reasons is that wine is astringent and cheese is fatty. These two factors are considered opposites, which means they balance each other and diminish their characteristics.

Here’s how it works: When you drink wine, you might notice a mild, astringent feeling, like your mouth is a little dry. As you drink more, you may notice that your mouth feels drier. Cheese and other high fat foods leave a slightly slimy feeling in our mouths when we eat them. Since wine is astringent, it cuts through the sliminess of the cheese and leaves you with a more pleasant mouthfeel. Similarly, the fattiness of the cheese coats your mouth and helps prevent the wine from becoming unpleasantly astringent.

Now that you know why these things go together, let’s talk about the best pairing options. In my opinion you can eat any cheese with any wine that tastes good to you, whether it’s a popular option or not. But if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with the options, here are a couple tried and true options to get you started:

  • Brie and Viognier- Baked brie with some light crackers and a glass of Viognier? Yum!
  • Cheddar cheese and Zinfandel- I don’t know about you, but I’ll eat cheddar cheese cubes by themselves with a glass of Zin, but you can also try making macaroni and cheese with sharp cheddar and really indulge!

Now you tell me- what’s the best wine and cheese pairing in your book?