Matching Music & Wine – What Music Makes Your Wine Taste Better?

You’ve heard of food and wine pairing, but have you heard of music and wine matching?  According to an informal focus group of 42 Women for Wine Sense members and guests at Nicholson Ranch Winery, the right type of music really can impact what you taste in the wine.  We experimented with two wines – a chardonnay and pinot noir, and matched them to different music genres.  Focus group members were asked to vote on their favorite.  The results were amazing! Graph 1

The 2007 Estate Chardonnay on its own has a lovely nose of orange blossom with peach and butter on the palate, full body, and a long finish.  When paired with Ella Fitzgerald singing St. Louis Blues (10 votes) guest said the wine had more pineapple flavors and became more lush and relaxed in their mouths.  The jazz tied with Beach Boy’s California Girls (10 votes) which brought out the coconut and tropical flavors in the wine and put people into an easy going, but upbeat mood.  Coming in at 3 points, some participants said they enjoyed the wine paired with Jimmy Sturr’s Beer Barrel Polka which brought out minerality and a sense of fun.  Only receiving 1 vote, Billy Idol’s White Wedding was referred to as “jarring” with the wine, but it did bring out some spices. 

The 2007 Estate Pinot Noir is a fruity rich wine with berries, spice and a creamy smooth finish.  Interestingly the music it paired best with was The Cars, You Might Think – scoring 16 points.  Participants said the music brought out the spice in the wine and made it taste lively and energetic in your mouth.  Second place went to Mozart with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik at 9 points.  Fans said it made the acid stand out in the wine and enhanced the sophistication.  Tina Turner’s Steel Claw received 2 votes with admirers admitting they enjoyed how it make the various components stand out in the wine and created a more striking presence in your mouth.  Coming in last with 1 vote was Peter Doyle’s Strike Up the Pipes which is slow funeral dirge type music.  Most participants said it made the wine go flat and lose its fruit. 

This was a fun experiment, which should be easy to duplicate at a party or even in a classroom setting.  I encourage you to give it a try.  Select both a red and white wine you enjoy and try it out with some of your favorite music.Graph 2

You should also know that some experts provide advice on Wine-Music pairings.  Clark Smith of Vinovation suggests that chardonnay needs something sultry, white zinfandel years for polka, pinot noir loves romantic music, and cabernet does well with rage.  See:

For more information on Women for WineSense events and the luscious wines of Nicholson Ranch, see:  and

4 thoughts on “Matching Music & Wine – What Music Makes Your Wine Taste Better?

  1. The sheer diversity between the best and second-best music proves this is utter bullshit. There is no connection AT ALL between wine and music – it’s all in the ‘ear’ of the beholder. If you like the music (with or without wine), it will always score higher. It’s like saying ginger people like beer more than blondes. NONSENSE.

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