We know for sure that you have frequently heard about this saying, but do you really know its curious origin?
Most of the sources state that its origin can be settled during the Medieval Ages, in the Spanish region of La Mancha. During those days La Mancha was one of the Spanish regions with the highest wine production. The kind of wine elaborated had to be consumed during the same year, due to the fact that its longevity was rather poor. Thus, wine producers should be selling it come what may in order to avoid a surplus and becoming vinegar at the worst.
The wines of the region had acquired great reputation due to their excellent quality and every time more and more traders moved to the area in order to buy the wine to resell it in their home towns. We must bear in mind, on the other hand, that at that time wine was bought only once in a year and the quantity purchased had to ensure the annual consumption.
As it usually happens, not all elaborated wines had the expected quality and the wine producers, to avoid accumulating a lot of stock, had a great idea to solve their problems: the sales strategy was to provide a piece of the magnificent Manchego cheese before starting the wine tasting. This gesture of hospitality of the wine producers was meant to “fool” the taste of the buyer.
Today we know that proteins within cheese are placed on the surface of the tongue creating a very thin film that prevents the taste buds from exercising in all its sensitivity. With this strategy, it was possible that poor wines looked good and excellent. The buyer discovered the trick later when he tasted the wine at home.
As the years went by, the saying became popular, and when a buyer was about to travel to La Mancha in search of the wine of the year, it was common before the journey to receive the wise advice: “Be careful that they don’t serve you the glass a wine with cheese”.