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Music & Wine Pairing Part 1

Food & Wine Pairing, Tasting Tips and Notes, Wine




I attended the Culinary Institute of America’s Beverage Professional Summit a few weeks ago and there was an incredible workshop based around music and wine pairings. There was a guided session followed by a “silent disco” where we could walk around and try wines with headphones that had three separate channels. The first session, was blindfolded, and guided by 3 brilliantly successful and knowledgeable men, Dr. Hoby Wedler, Dr. Ali Bouzari and Dreaming Tree winemaker, Sean McKenzie. If this interests you, definitely check out their websites.

During this pairing, these guys tricked us all! 

After we were all blindfolded, we were poured 5 wines. Dr. Hoby picked wines from Dreaming Tree, a wine brand created by the Dave Matthews band. He picked a Dave Matthews song for each wine as well. 

First, we had Dreaming Tree Sauvignon Blanc paired with Do You Remember. The pairing inspired a sense of summer vacation as a kid with the playful notes in the light wine. 

The second pairing was Pinot Noir, paired with Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin) which creates a sense of nostalgia from life’s little and fleeting, but very important, moments. A feeling of curling up by a fireplace was something Dr. Hoby mentioned he felt when tasting this wine. 

The third pairing was the Rosé paired with Here On Out, a beautiful song and wine both dedicated to Dave Matthews’ wife. Both were delicate, soft, and had a lofty essence to them. 

Remember – we were all blindfolded. After every wine Dr. Hoby would ask us all, is this a red wine or a white? In this case we all said white. Dr. Hoby then corrected us, and told us a bit about the Rosé. During which – our first glass was refilled. When Dr. Hoby finished explaining the rosé, he asked us all to search for our first glass again. He started the song, When I’m Weary and had us taste the wine in the first glass. 

When I’m Weary evokes a need of safety, continuity and security. When this song played with the wine, especially blindfolded, it truly did taste different than the other wines we had already tried. Nearly all of us said it was a white wine again. We were tricked!  It was the rose wine we had just tasted! We tasted the same wine back to back and couldn’t tell. The only thing that changed was the music. If that doesn’t tell you about the potential power of music effecting perception of taste, I don’t know what will. 

For the fifth pairing Dr. Hoby paired Cabernet Sauvignon with Eh Hee Live At Piedmont Park. This was a song pairing going back to Dave Matthews’ South African roots. Both the music and the wine had a lot of deep resounding notes to them – the bass notes in the music and the tannic, dark fruits in the wine. 

This workshop opened up a new door for me. Inspiring me to think more deeply about music choices for dinners I curate. Also sound in general – sizzling in sauté pans, bubbling from boiling water, chopping vegetables. It all creates an environment. I used to want to hide all of those noises for clients, but if people are in the kitchen mingling, I want those noises to be a background sound. Quiet – but present. It will unconsciously link people on a new level to the food they will soon consume. In part 2 of this post, I will give you some pairings that I came up with on music from the ‘50’s. Stay tuned!

Curious about having your own music and wine pairing? Reach out and lets talk about creating your own private music and wine pairing party!

Hi! I'm Sydney,

nice to meet you!

I left a marketing career in Hollywood to go to the Culinary Institute of America. After a few years of working in restaurants, I am now a private chef and sommelier in the 30a area.


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