The secret of why cheese and wine complement each other has been discovered... in a study involving hours of arduous eating and drinking.
Scientists said eating cheese changed how drinkers described different wines and how much they liked them.
The research by the Centre for Taste and Feeding Behaviour in Dijon, France, found that it boosts the fruitiness and aroma of the drink.
Participants in the study evaluated the wines Pacherenc, Sancerre, Bourgogne and Madiran having snacked on Epoisses, Comté, Roquefort and crottin de Chavignol cheeses. After nibbling a piece of cheese, they chose from a list of sensations to describe the effect it had when they sipped a wine.
In a spirit of scientific rigour, they had to repeat the process for all the other cheeses and wines.
The results, published in the journal Food Science, showed cheese had an impact on the description for all wines, and boosted preference for most. None had a negative impact.
In both reds (Bourgogne and Madiran), the cheeses increased the aroma of red fruits, and reduced the duration of astringency - the dry feeling in the mouth caused by tannins.
In the sweet white Pacherenc, the duration of dominance of sweetness was not changed by cheese, but in the white dry wine, cheeses had an impact on the main aroma.
Researcher Mara Galmarini said: "We learned the duration of the perception of astringency of a wine could be reduced after having cheese, and the four cheeses had the same effect.
"In short, when having assorted cheeses, wine will probably taste better no matter which you choose."