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Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Perceive the taste of the wine in a manner consistent with the connotations of music
Music makes wine taste better
It has long been known that you should pair your wine with your food.
11:11AM GMT 01 Nov 2011
But a new study reveals wine drinkers should also consider what's playing on the stereo if they want the perfect tipple.
The study shows that people who drink wine while listening to music perceive the wine to have the same taste characteristics of the particular artist.
The research published in the British Journal of Psychology found that for the best earthy and full-bodied Merlot taste experience, drinkers should try listening to Tom Jones.
Or to add a little zing to a glass of Pinot Grigio pull out the latest Lady Gaga album.
Professor Adrian North of Herriot-Watt University gave taste tests to 250 students - half male, half female - while playing music in the background.
They were given either Alpha 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon - a red wine - or Chilean Chardonnay and played one of four songs on loop for 15 minutes picked for their contrasting musical characteristics.
Some of the volunteers sampled their glass to the tune of Carmina Burana by Orff - a song identified by researchers as "powerful and heavy".
Others were played the "subtle and refined" Waltz of the Flowers from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.
Another group listened to the "zingy and refreshing" Just Can't Get Enough by Nouvelle Vague and the fourth group were played the "mellow and soft" Slow Breakdown by Michael Brook.
A fifth group drank the wine with no music.
After five minutes the volunteers were asked to rank how much they felt the wine tasted like the musical descriptions: powerful and heavy, subtle and refined, mellow and soft, zingy and refreshing.
The results showed the music the volunteers listened to consistently affected how they perceived it to taste.
For example both red and white wines were given the highest ratings for being powerful and heavy by those participants who drank them to the tune of Carmina Burana.
Those who listened to Michael Brook rated their wine as tasting mellow and soft consistently higher than other tastes.
The study is titled 'the effect of background music on the taste of wine' and was published this month.
It says: "The research reported here considers the possibility that the emotional connotations of music may be able to function as a symbol that influences perception of taste.
"The results reported here indicate that independent groups' ratings of the taste of the wine reflected the emotional connotations of the background music played while they drank it.
"These results indicate that the symbolic function of auditory stimuli (in this case music) may influence perception in other modalities (in this case taste).
"More simply, participants appeared to perceive the taste of the wine in a manner consistent with the connotations of music."
The study was not able to say whether the outcomes are a result of the cultural connotations of the music influencing the drinker or whether they are explained by the physical properties of the sound.
It builds on previous research that shows that restaurant diners spend more money when they are played classical music over pop music. ends
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