A team of Japanese scientists found the scientific reason for one of the rules of thumb about the pairing between wine and food: “Red wine with red meat, white wine with fish”.
In combining fish with red wine a disagreeable taste occurs in the palate due to the presence of high iron levels in the alcoholic drink, researchers explained.
The study was published in the magazine Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, published by the American Chemical Society of the United States.
According to scientist Takayuki Tamura and his colleagues from the product development and research laboratory of Japanese wine producer Mercian Corp., the disagreeable fish aftertaste after drinking red wine is due to the iron which some grape juice naturally contains some more than others.
“Strong positive correlations were found between the intensity of fishy aftertaste and the concentration of both total iron and ferrous ion,” the researchers explained in a statement.
The scientific discovery was made possible following a study on the components of 38 commercial red wines from various countries, and 26 white wines.
As part of the experiment, wine samplers tested the wines while dining on scallops.
They found “that wine with high amounts of iron had a more intensely fishy aftertaste,” which diminished when the researchers added “a substance that binds up iron, the researchers pointed out.
The iron tenor in each red wine depends on several factors: Vineyard; Type of soil; Techniques employed for the harvest of the grape and Processing.
The results they obtained surprised,” the team, because they had believed that polyphenols or sulphur dioxide produced the unpleasant taste.