Ever wonder why cheese so often is paired with wine? A study of a sensory evaluation method by researchers at the Center for Taste and Feeding Behavior in France found eating cheese while quaffing wine had an impact on the description of and preference for different wines.

The study, published in this month’s issue of the Journal of Food Science, was conducted among consumers in the city of Dijon. Subjects evaluated Pacherenc, Sancerre, Bourgogne and Madiran wines after nibbling on epoisses, comte, Roquefort and crottin de chavignol cheeses.

After nibbling a piece of cheese and then taking three sips of wine, they were given a list of sensations from which to pick to describe what caught their attention. They then were given a different piece of cheese to nibble, told to take three more sips and again asked to evaluate the wine, repeating the process with each of the cheeses and each of the wines.

"Thanks to our research we learned that the duration of the perception of astringency of a certain wine could be reduced after having cheese and that the four evaluated cheeses had the same effect. In short, when having a plate of assorted cheeses, the wine will probably taste better no matter which one they choose," lead author Mara V. Galmarini said in a press release.

The researchers found none of the cheeses had a negative effect on wine preference. The cheeses decreased the duration of dominance of astringency for both red wines and increased aroma. The cheeses had no impact on the Pacherenc, which is sweet, but had an impact on the aroma of the Sancerre.

A second study found adding a small amount of Chardonnay grape seed pomace to coffee may increase antioxidants without changing the appearance, taste or aroma, the Institute of Food Technologists reported Wednesday.

Washington State University researchers had two consumer panels evaluate coffee with different levels of grape seed pomace, which is part of the waste stream from the wine production process. The first panel drank the altered coffee black and the other was allowed to add sweeteners, milk or cream.

The researchers found adding a small amount of the pomace had no significant impact on aroma, appearance or taste. More than a minimal amount made the coffee lighter in color and reduced the strength.

The idea of adding something to increase antioxidants is appealing because of their effect on free radicals, which can damage cells, leading to cancer.