Music can influence the taste of wine, according to a new study Wednesday which suggests which songs go well with which types of wine.
Heavy rock music like Jimi Hendrix or The Rolling Stones is a good accompaniment to a Cabernet Sauvignon, while opera buffs might prefer a 2006 Syrah, said the study by psychologists at a British university.
The research, in collaboration with a Chilean wine producer, indicates that different types of music stimulate different parts of the brain, and prime us to taste wines in a corresponding way.
For example when a powerful piece of music such as Carmina Burana is heard, a Cabernet Sauvignon is perceived as being 60 per cent more powerful, rich and robust than when no music is heard.
"This is the first time it has been scientifically proven that music can affect perception in other senses and change the way wine tastes," said Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
The idea for the study was triggered by Chilean winemaker Aurelio Montes, who plays Gregorian chants to his maturing wines, arguing that the gentle vibrations improve the quality of the wine.
"I was intrigued by Montes' approach... and was keen to explore whether music could actually influence the taste of their wines," said North, head of Applied Psychology at Heriot Watt.
David Williams, editor of Wine and Spirit magazine, said: "I love the idea that music has such an enormous effect on the way we taste wine, and I love the idea that people in the wine trade might make use of this information.
"Maybe we'll start seeing buy-one-get-one-free offers replaced by free Mozart, and maybe one day there'll even be music lists in Michelin-starred restaurants," he said.
Researchers list a number of songs or pieces of music which should go well with various wine types:
- Cabernet Sauvignon: "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix; "Honky Tonk Woman" by The Rolling Stones; "Live and Let Die" by The Beatles; "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who.
- Chardonnay: "Atomic" by Blondie; "Rock DJ" by Robbie Williams; "What's Love Got to do With It" by Tina Turner; "Spinning Around" by Kylie Minogue.
- Syrah: Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" as sung by Luciano Pavarotti; "Orinoco Flow" by Enya; "Chariots of Fire" by Vangelis; "Canon" by Johann Pachelbel.
- Merlot: "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding; "Easy" by Lionel Ritchie; "Over The Rainbow" by Eva Cassidy; "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez.