Heavy rock music by 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 report 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% 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 the gentle vibrations improve the quality of the wine.
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,” said Mr Williams.
Researchers list a number of songs or pieces of music that should go well with various wine types:
* Cabernet Sauvignon: All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix; Honky Tonk Women by the Rolling Stones; Live and Let Die by Paul Macartney; and 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; and Spinning Around by Kylie Minogue.
* Syrah: Puccini’s Nessun Dorma as sung by Luciano Pavarotti; Orinoco Flow by Enya; Chariots of Fire by Vangelis; and 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; and Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez.