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Iron in red wine causes flavour clash with fish

Red wine with red meat, white wine with fish is a widely held rule of thumb for pairing wine with food. Now researchers in Japan have come up with a scientific explanation as to why this might be. They've found that iron in red wine causes an unpleasant fishy aftertaste when consumed with fish.

The scientists asked wine tasters to sample 38 red wines and 26 white wines while eating scallops. Some of the wines contained small amounts of iron but the wines with high amounts resulted in a more intense fishy aftertaste. This fishy taste diminished when a substance that binds up iron was added to the high iron wines suggesting that low-iron reds might be a good match with seafood and supporting the view that there are exceptions to the white wine with fish rule.