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Classical music makes champagne taste better

Björnstierne Antonsson

Björnstierne Antonsson

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Wine enhances the experience of a drink. In this case champagne. Actually, it’s not strange. But this study shows it’s more surprising than that.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

In a carefully staged experiment, Master of Wine Susan Lin has tested how people experience champagne in connection with music. She selected seventy people of different age, gender and place of residence. Some were wine professionals, others pure amateurs. No one had any particular background in music.

The experiment consisted of the group having to try five glasses of champagne to four different pieces of classical music. They had to taste the fifth glass without music. For each glass and music they tasted, they would describe the experience of the wine separately and rank that experience together with the music – or in one case without the music.

What the test group didn’t know was that it was the same champagne in all the glasses: a Veuve Clicquot Brut – that is, the Yellow Widow. But surprisingly, the experience of the champagne was very different when different pieces of classical music were played – even though it was the same champagne in all the glasses. The music that gave the most experience of the champagne is said to have been by Saint-Saëns. Most clearly in the experiment was that champagne without music does not taste as good at all.

Here are the four selected pieces of music (according to Decanter).

  • Johannes Brahms: Violin Concerto: Movement 3, Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo
  • Claude Debussy: Danses Sacrée et Profane: Danse Profane
  • Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade
  • Camille Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals: XIV – Finale
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