That bassline tastes so good!

Published on July 23, 2019

Ever wondered why a glass of wine tasted so good on one occasion while the same wine really didn’t hit the mark on another.  It could have been due to the music you were listening to!

Music can change your perception of food and drink, according to research carried out by Professor Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford.  “Our senses are connected in some surprising ways,” he says.   Research has shown that we associate higher sounds with sweet tastes and lower sounds with sour tastes, he explains. “No one is sure why it happens. One idea is that when you [study] newborns in any animal species, they all stick their tongues out and upwards to taste something sweet, whereas they stick their tongues downwards and away from a sour taste. Our brain may be picking up on that correspondence [linking high with sweet and low with sour] later in life.”

Other research shows:

  • Loud up-tempo music in a restaurant makes us eat faster. Science says faster music actually increases our chewing speed. Restaurants often employ this trick over lunch to encourage a higher table turnover
  • The subtle stress caused by uptempo music can tempt us towards cheeseburgers and fatty comfort foods. Conversely, restaurants playing chill music cause us to pause long enough to consider having that mixed greens salad with dressing on the side
  • The right music can cause us to eat and drink more by encouraging us to linger longer.

So are music and wine connected on a deeper level?  I really think so.  When I hear La Folie by The Stranglers, I’m reminded of the acidity and energy of a great Sancerre such as 2017 Domaine des Brosses Sancerre .  The wine cuts like a knife, like Jean Jacques Burnel’s bass guitar!  Also surely Led Zeppelin’s Good Times Bad Times evokes a big, bold, slow-moving Châteauneuf-du-Pape such as 2015 Domaine Grand Veneur Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge ‘Le Miocene’.

Look out for more great wine-music pairings from Winecroft.

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