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October 24, 2009

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Why red wine tastes so bad with fish

JAPANESE researchers have finally found out why red wine tastes so terrible when paired with fish.

Until now, nobody could consistently predict which wines might trigger a fishy aftertaste because of the lack of knowledge about its cause.

But researcher Takayuki Tamura and his team found that an unpleasant, fishy aftertaste noticeable after drinking red wine with fish resulted from naturally occurring iron in red wine, with some wines having more iron than others.

The researchers from Japanese wine producer Mercian Corp found that wine connoisseurs established the rule of thumb because of the flavor clash between red wine and fish.

"Strong positive correlations were found between the intensity of fishy aftertaste and the concentration of both total iron and ferrous ion," the researchers said.

Their study, published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, was based on studying 38 commercial red wines from several countries, 26 white wines, two sherries, and one each of port, madeira and botrytised wine.

Wine samplers then tested the wines while dining on scallops. "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," the researchers said.


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