August 25, 2023


Pairing Music with Wine
Pairing wines with foods along with pairing wines in hot or cold weather have been topics that many have discussed. We even have certain types of wine glasses for different wines. These various pairings deal with tastes, textures smells, and sight which leaves one of our five senses from being involved with wine. We constantly hear sounds and various genre of music while sipping on a glass of vino, but we never think about how music impacts how we sense wines. I never personally thought about it until I encountered an article by Natalie MacLean recently. This Canadian has won so many international awards and continues to make waves in the world of wine with little recognition in the U. S. Wine Culture. Natalie in a recent article stated, “If food, glassware, ambient temperature, perfume, and the people sitting next to you, all influence the taste of wine, why wouldn’t music? It really comes down to ambiance and context. For example, (play accordion music) a British professor discovered through research that people were five times more likely to buy French than German wine if this music was playing in the background. On the contrary (play oompah music), if this music played in the grocery store, the German product outsold the French product by two to one. It’s part of an emerging field called neuro-marketing where companies use technologies to measure changes in biometrics to learn which brain areas are responsible for the decisions consumers make. According to research by Prof. Charles Spence at Oxford, we have five senses but they’re not all siloed. The experiences overlap so some people “see” musical notes as colors.” To put this in wine-pairing terms, you pair round, complex wines with Classical Music. In our hot Summer days, I would therefore pair the melodious Beach Boy sounds to a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc or unoaked Chardonnay. Try a sparkling wines with the sounds of the dynamic sounds of Jethro Tull. Why not pair a youthful Zinfandel to Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I suggest a round Malbec or GSM Blend with the round tones of Carpenters. What wine would you pair with Freddie Mercury and Queen? It would depend which sounds of Freddie you were listening to. I probably would pair an Alsatian Gewürztraminer with the sassiness of Queen. For me, the Moody Blues would best be paired with a deeply complex New World Cabernet Sauvignon or the Old World Bordeaux. Think about pairing the similar styles of the music you are listening with the styles of wine you are sipping on. In the case of pairing wine with music, you are looking for similarities in the pairing. I don’t believe that you should pair Kashmir by Led Zeppelin with a flowery wine. That style of music is for a whimsical wine. Classical Opera with its passion ought to be paired with a wine of complexity and dignity.
Your homework assignment is to be cognitive of the types of wines you are enjoying with the background noises including the music genre. Listen with your ears while sensing what the wine is providing with your eyes, noise, and mouth. The entire world around you is being sensed in your mind based on your perceptions. When the senses are in harmony, then your enjoyment should be enhanced. The old adage of local wines pair best with local foods could be extended to include local music!

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