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Enjoying wine with your ears



This particular topic comes around reasonably regularly in wine circles, but I have yet to get a definitive answer as to whether music really does affect one’s perception, and enjoyment, of wine.

Does anyone here have a strong feeling about this either way? Has a piece of music, played at the right moment, amplified your wine drinking experience in some way, or maybe impaired it? Is the involvement of another sense a distraction or a does it help you to focus, and is this (like wine tasting) really just a personal thing? Maybe it is more about the setting, or the audio system itself … So many questions.

I believe we have a few members who are into their aural as well as oral experiences (titter ye not!), including @MetalheadWino, @Richard and @martin_brown - so maybe I can be convinced to try again or maybe just avoid it altogether.

Wine and music matching

Thank you for giving me an excuse to reminisce about that time I got some of The Society’s most cerebral tasters to taste fine cabernet to the melodious strains of ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica :yum:

I don’t blame anyone for being sceptical about it, but an open mind, ear and palate can, in my experience, yield some pretty scary/exciting results.


Oh, wow. I had missed this article (but of course remember the original seminar in Rioja that you mentioned), but it is perfectly on-point. Thanks Martin.

I wasn’t able to attend that seminar, sadly, and I was not around for your tasting, so I have yet to ever do this in a controlled way, so I need to wait for another kind / crazy soul to repeat the experiment and invite me along <hint>


A subtle hint, duly noted - I’m game if others are! At the very least, I’m sure we can source some John Denver and rosé…


ah … sadly I’m …erm … leaving on a jet plane. Maybe some other time :wink:



I’ve always thought the Berlin era albums by David Bowie would greatly enhance the enjoyment of Grand Cru red Burgundy, and would welcome any opportunity to test that theory out.


I can’t say I’ve ever tried and experimented with this but I’ve absolutely got to now!

@martin_brown, Your Metallica/Mozart tasting experiment is fantastic and would love to know the results if you ever do another one :slight_smile:

If i had to have a guess for some of the music I enjoy then i reckon a rustic, farmyard-smelling Pinot Noir would go great with Norwegian black metal and, while I’m not entirely proud of this, it would be tough for me not to associate a sweaty Grindcore gig with cans of Polish lager and a sneaky swig from the bass player’s bottle of Buckfast! :sweat_smile:


Thanks Alex, will do, and likewise would love to hear how you get on with your own experiments. Whilst I fear I may have difficulty persuading our Tastings Team to try a metal subgenre and wine pairing night, it sounds like fun nonetheless!

Agree that grindcore may not be an intuitive companion and you summarise why very well :blush: On the black metal front I know that a few of the Norwegian stalwarts are into their wine (Gaahl, formerly of Gorgoroth, for instance) and something suitably atmospheric could well distort a farmyardy pinot pleasantly. Maybe pairing with a big tannic Douro red could be interesting too?

Look what you’ve done, @robert_mcintosh :wink:


OMG @martin_brown a wine and music tasting would be fantastic! I will join you in persuading the Tastings Team to consider it if we can. Maybe a fun contender for Generation Wine? :smiley:

I must admit the metal genre has never really captured me, so I’m not sure if I’d find it too discombobulating while trying to drink a glass of wine!

But I’d loooove to try this with other genres. Some ridiculously relaxing, effortlessly cool jazz like Billie Holliday ‘You Go To My Head’ or Ella Fitzgerald ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ and one of those silky, smooth wines that you can just savour every mouthful of, like a fat viognier or pinot gris for whites or maybe this gorgeous petite sirah for reds (a bit of a fave for contemplative sipping - especially by a fireplace - in our household):

I reckon that could amp up the enjoyment of both the wine and the music. :heart_eyes:

Now to consider which wine would best match The Spice Girls…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Great shout with the Gaal reference!

I’m trying not to be too cheesy and go for an ice wine to match the Nordic tundras! Maybe a steely cool Riesling that is every bit as dry as it as cold?

To @laura, if we’re going Spice Girls then maybe a spicy shiraz? - Although, if i’m being honest, anything alcoholic to inflate the karaoke appeal of them has got to be a winner! :slight_smile:


Actually some years ago I got a friend who plays in a very fine doom metal band to come up with some riffs based on his impressions of some wines we were trying - I recall that the ‘Riesling Riff’ was especially good! So you may be onto something :joy: I agree a steely dry precise white might work nicely with some gloomy Nordic noises.

As for Spice Girls, perhaps a clean crisp sunny chardonnay a la The Beach Boys experiment in the article above? (NB there’s an Ella Fitzgerald tune in there too, @laura!) This one also sprang to mind, but it may just be how I feel when I’m overexposed to their oeuvre…


I keep trying to get my thoughts together enough on this subject to post. Needless to say, I am a believer in matching wine with music. Well… matching wine with anything, really. Stimulate the senses, touch the ethereal. Were the senses not related, chefs wouldn’t spend time with tweezers to get the baby cress looking right on a plate.

I’d like to plan a tasting: everyone bring a bottle and a song.

In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to the metal tasting the Society will be putting on next season as part of Generation Wine.


This evening I am drinking an ethereal Chianti and listening to John Coltrane’s late free jazz masterpiece Ascension.

I believe it is a fitting pairing. My girlfriend, less so.


I believe you might want to rephrase that, or at least clarify :wink:


Correction: she begs me impart this is the 3rd free jazz album of the evening. At this point, “thank god I have the wine.”

Correction 2 (thank you @robert_mcintosh) : My own pairing with my girlfriend is definitely fitting. I mean, we were working our way through three free jazz albums to find the right match for the wine, right?!

Music update: The recent live release from Charles Lloyd’s New Quartet turned out to be the best match. The implied rhythms of Eric Harland’s drumming were perfect with the light weight fruit, suspended within the Chianti Rufina.


Janice, the captain of our blind tasting team in Oxford actually does crossmodal research between sound and flavour!! It’s a fascinating subject and sometimes we are lucky enough to go to her panel tastings (for science?) :slight_smile:

For those that are interested: