I love reading Eric Asimov, and was unhappy when the Times axed "The Pour." But he did write the dumbest story I've seen in a while this past Wednesday. Titled "Cheese And Red Wine Together Again," it began by debunking James Beard's 1947 observation that "cheese and red wine have natural affinities for each other," then asserted that white wine was a better match, then said that it was still okay to drink red wine with cheese. What made the story dumb was that he never gave the actual reason for drinking red wine with cheese. To wit:
Red wine and tea share a common characteristic: The presence of tannins. Tannins are astringent. You can add all the sugar you want to a cup of tea, and it will not become any less astringent. But if you add milk, the butterfat in the milk softens the tannins; the astringent quality is ameliorated. Don't take my word for it, read Kevin Zraly.
Ordinarily I read something wrong-headed and just let it pass, but I found myself thinking of an old friend, Rick Alles (a sales manager at the Wine Warehouse in San Diego and, among other things, a truly formidable player of stringed instruments) who once remarked that it was no accident that European peasants were so often depicted holding a jug of wine and a wheel of cheese.