Look, I like wine as much as the next guy. Probably more than the next guy actually, because I doubt the next guy drank three glasses of wine for breakfast like I might have done (don't tell my editors).
But occasionally you'll snag a glass or bottle that just doesn't line up with your taste buds' expectations -- whether it's too pungent, overly sharp, skunky, or just straight-up bad. Good news! A recent study slapped some facts behind a widespread (and seemingly obvious) legend: Cheese makes almost every wine taste better.
The study -- conducted by the Centre for Taste and Feeding Behavior in Dijon, France and published in the Journal of Food Science (which I'm sure you've read extensively) -- took 31 so-called wine experts and asked them to rate four types of wine (two red, two white, with flavors across the spectrum) before and after pairing them with a variety of soft and hard cheeses.
After the cheese was eaten, the wines scored higher (meaning, they tasted better) in most cases -- and in zero cases did the cheese have a negative effect on the wine. For example, the reds ended up losing some astringency and gained fruity flavors when paired with any of the cheeses being surveyed... which is what you want, really.
To wade through all the science-babble and straight to the point: The cheese gave the wines a more pleasant flavor, and decreased brain activity associated with "disgust" -- which no one wants, really.
"Thanks to our research, we learned the duration of the perception of astringency of a certain wine could be reduced after having cheese and the four evaluated cheeses had the same effect,” lead researcher Mara Galmarini told The Telegraph. "In short, when having a plate of assorted cheeses, the wine will probably taste better no matter which one they choose."
So from here on out, make sure to pair your cheap-ass wine purchases with some cheese. I'm fairly certain string cheese counts.
Also, I was just kidding about drinking wine at breakfast before.
(No I wasn't.)