There are many wineries who go to the trouble of carefully choosing music for their tasting room that complements their wines. Wine and music pairing still doesn’t get the attention it deserves from the public but there are plenty of people on the production side who see the connection.
But I don’t think any winery has taken the plunge like Krug Champagne. For many years, Krug has been inviting a composer to translate a new Krug Grande Cuvée into a piece of original music. As Adam Lechmere reports, the latest to participate was the renowned Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, noted for his film scores and experimental music projects.
In addition, The French sound laboratory IRCAM (the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics and Music) and the composer Roque Rivas have set wine from 10 different parcels from Krug’s’ vineyard holdings to music.
“You can listen online, or – as Krug prefers – in the ‘360-degree ambisonic environment’ of the Krug tasting room. It’s really rather lovely: Pinot Noir from Les Champs Muets in Ambonnay begins with deep bass notes which build to higher, more ethereal sounds; Chardonnay from Les Jutées in Mesnil-sur-Oger is all trembling, high treble notes. It connects, in some indefinable way, to the wines themselves. It’s what Krug describes as ‘this connection between taste and music, and the vocabulary we have created to describe music and taste.’”
The samples on the Krug website now are from another Japanese composer Akira Senju.
Krug never loses sight of the fact that he’s in the entertainment business. ‘If you say, “this is a blend of 195 wines with no malolactic” people will fall asleep. The people who know, don’t need any explanation, but 90 per cent of the time we’re speaking to people who have no clue.’
Wine apparently has an image problem—it’s too stuffy, too esoteric, too hard to understand. It seems to me making the connection with music is one way to break down those barriers. It requires no technical knowledge to learn to sense the continuities between wine and music. And the connection has been firmly established by science. The right music can enhance the experience of your favorite wine. What’s not to like?
If you’re intrigued by this idea, I co-wrote a book about it.