To prevent a taste clash, a waiter or wine steward advises us on the best wine to complement our meal in order to accent and highlight both the wine and a particular dish served. For instance, a lighter white wine is served with fish, a Chardonnay with cheese, a Merlot with pasta, and red wine with beef.
Researchers suggest there’s a scientific reason wines compliment certain foods. According to a study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Japanese researchers found that wine and food pairing rules exists because of the flavor clash between red wine and fish. The research team discovered a fishy aftertaste after drinking red wine because of the naturally occurring iron. “Strong positive correlations were found between the intensity of fishy aftertaste and the concentration of both total iron and ferrous ion [in red wine].”
Their study was based on a review of 38 commercial red wines from a list of countries, 26 white wines, two sherries, and one each of port, madeira and botrytized wine. “They found that wines with high amounts of iron had a more intensely fishy aftertaste. This fishy taste diminished, on the other hand, when the researchers added a substance that binds up iron, and it is iron that’s the key factor in the fishy aftertaste of wine-seafood pairings.