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Listen Up! Music Can Change the Taste of Wine!

Listen Up! Music Can Change the Taste of Wine!

Laurita Winery , Wine Science , Wine Weirdness 🕔March 21, 2017 0 comments

Music enhances mood. We all know this.

It’s why we dial up the sad songs after a breakup, or grab a friend by the hand in a dash for the dance floor when our favorite song comes on! But did you realize that music can also enhance the taste of wine?

The Guardian reports on ‘sonic artist’ Jo Burzynska, who opened the world’s first “oenosthetic” wine and sound bar.

“[Research] in the development of noninvasive brain imaging has confirmed that the senses are interconnected,” says Burzynska, who is doing a PhD on the subject.

We talked about something similar in Experiments with Wine and Color. Charles Spence of Oxford University recently conducted “the world’s largest multisensory experiment in the psychology of wine tasting”.

He explained that participants held the same glass throughout the experiment, so they knew they were always drinking the same wine, but were asked to rate it under white, green, and red light, sometimes combined with one of two specially composed snippets of music.

Spence tried to pinpoint “sweet” and “sour” music, and whether it would impact the taste of wine in combination with variously colored lighting. And if you’re wondering how music can have a flavor, Spence suggests we look to babies.

“We’re all born sticking our tongue out and up to sweetness, to goodness, to calories, to growth, to mother’s milk; we all stick our tongue out and down to bitterness,” he said. When you have your tongue up you make higher pitched sounds, and when it’s down they’re lower—like “eurgh.”

The two experiments have surprisingly similar results, Burzynska and her tasters found.

Acidity and sweetness is associated with higher pitches; base brings out the body; and bitterness is connected with lower pitches.

We find this really exciting.

It suggests that, along with all the wine pairings for food (everything from Girl Scout cookies to pizza to BUGS), there is also a perfect pairing for your favorite music!

Who wants to help with an experiment?

Let’s all break out the iPods (or the CDs, or the 8-tracks for those golden oldies among us!) and get tasting! You work on country-western, we’ll crank up the classic rock, and we’ll get the neighbors to turn on the dance music! We’ll all meet back here and compare, until we have a complete list of wines to complement everything on our play lists!

Now, pass the corkscrew and the ear buds.

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