Wednesday, November 14th 2018
Published on May 19, 2013 0

Ear-Palate Harmony

There is a comprehensive canon on food-wine matching, but the music-wine matching is the recent trendy topic gaining attention.

Exactly 3 years before, on the 17th of March 2009, Led Zeppelin fan and viticulture expert Joe Bastianich, writer and musician Mike Edison and wine expert David Lynch organized the first of the Great Led Zeppelin Wine Match-Up in Becco Restaurant New York, where they “tasted with their ears and listened with their mouths”. The menu was prepared by chef Billy Gallagher. Every dish was matched with a Led Zeppelin song and a wine. For appetizers, “Song Remains the Same” was served with grilled squid and champagne or Gruner Veltliner. For the main dish- as expected- was “Kashmir”, served with Bistecca Alla Becco and Barolo. The night was capped with “Tangerine” and Moscato d’Asti.

Led Zeppelin wine night

Although- if we must interrupt- going from Kashmir via Barolo to Moscato d’Asti is not enough for us. Why not drink a few more glasses of Barolo during Kashmir, is what we’re trying to say.

Just as different moods are related to different types of music, the same can be said about music and wine. Winemaker Clark Smith is somebody who has a passionate interest on this subject. He recommends listening to Ella Fitzgerald Blues with Carneros Chardonnay, to the Beach Boys “California Girls” with California Chardonnay’s, Stan Getz with Chablis and the Doors “People Are Strange” with Sonoma Cabernet’s.

red wine tasting man jazz

James Hetfield of Metallica fame believes that the songs of Iron Maiden go well with Cabernet Sauvignon. Although one need not think too much about the relationship between wine and music to say this.When you’re listening to Heavy Metal you should down the Boğazkere brother, or if you insist on foreign wines, blends of Bordeaux, Barolo’s, Australian Premium Shiraz or Shiraz-Cabernet-Sauvignon blends can work. Of course, ZZ Top and Rush will also go well with these reds. My favorite singer among the locals is Esengül, together with a good Boğazkere. And with an Öküzgözü-Boğazkere blend, Orhan Gencebay’s “My World”.

Or, if one was listening to King Crimson- say, One Time- a Kalecik Karası could be sampled, or a good Vosne Romanee. I’m just brain storming here. But it’s worth the try.


There is a famous experiment about this subject. It was sponsored by the famous Chilean wine company Montes and it’s the first experiment that researches the relationship between wine and music. The original name of the experiment is “The Effect of Background Music on the Taste of Wine”. The owner of Montes is Aurelio Montes, who uses background music during the wine making process and who is interested in Feng Shui. He is even contemplating putting song recommendations on the back labels! The study was done by Adrian North, professor of experimental psychology in the Edinburgh Heriot Watt University, on a group of 250 adults. Professor North determined that listening to Carmina Burana while drinking Montes Cabernet Sauvignon increased the effect of the wine by 60 percent, compared to drinking it without music. Listening to Blondie’s Atomic makes the Montes Chardonnay taste even better, apparently! Although even looking at your muddy shoes while listening to Blondie would make you perceive them to be clean, if you ask me.

If this experiment is taken seriously, wine companies may start considering playing music during tastings. Even if you make a bad Cabernet, as long as you pipe Carmina Burana at elevator-music volume, you can subliminally influence tasters and see that the wines grade increases! If that is not enough, crank up Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower”. Lionel Ritchie’s “Easy” goes well with Merlot for example. If you like Syrah, listen to Vangelis’s “Chariots of Fire”. No joke! I’m just quoting the results of the experiment. Just ask Professor North.

If you ask whether it is more important to listen to music to taste the wine better, or to taste the wine to listen to music better; I would say the latter. I like wine, but not as much as I like music brother!



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