Compose yourselves for a better tipple

16 November, 2007

First, they told you

your wine could only be enjoyed if matched correctly with food. Then you were warned

your choice of glass was all-important. Now, experts are insisting that the flavour of wine changes depending on what sort of music you listen to when you taste it.

"Just about everybody who hears

what I'm doing is either completely baffled by what I have to say or they think it's so obvious

they don't see any point in talking about it," says Clark Smith, a winemaker now working for his own consultancy business.

Following lengthy research and numerous tasting panels. Smith has found that different wines seem to taste better with particular styles of music. For example, Pinot Noir is perfect with Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Cabernet, meanwhile, works better with "darker" music.

"Red wines need either minor key or they need music that has negative emotion," Smith explains. "They don't like happy music. With expensive reds, don't play music that makes you giggle. Pinots like sexy music. Cabernets like angry music. It's very hard to find a piece of music that's good for both Pinot and Cabernet."

So what's going on? The theory is that wine and music stimulate the same part of the brain and the messages get confused.

There's more. According to a press release we received this week, the best cure for a hangover - according to "party goers up and down the country and GMTV's Doctor Hilary Jones" - is Yazoo.

If none is available, we understand that early Erasure and some of Alison Moyet's solo work also does the trick.

Ravaged by rodents

This furry beast may look cute but, together with its mates, it has laid waste to swathes of vineyards in Spain's Castilla y Leon region. The rodents - Mediterranean pine voles to you or me - have apparently been attracted into the vineyards because of cooler weather conditions and are particularly partial to the Viura grape hanging from low untrained vines. "Higher-quality, trellised grapes and vines are harder to get at when you're only the dimensions of a common field mouse," OLN's nature correspondent ­Patricia Langton


Not THAT kind of Beefeater ...

Tip for anyone trying to get into the Tower of London for a wine tasting: try to remember your security pass, and don't have a Stanley knife in your bag when sceptical security staff search it. Somehow OLN's man at the Cellar Door event managed to break both

these golden rules last week. We presume the Beefeaters are looking after him well.

Cydermen back down

We like our friends at Aspall so much that we're happy to indulge them in their olde worlde spelling of their product, which is why we refer to their "cyder" with a straight face, no raised eyebrows and certainly no sniggering. Tesco appears to have been a little less accommodating. Or was it Aspall's idea to label its new exclusive for its Cheshunt chums as mulled "cider"?

You think you've got problems?

If anyone deserves a drink it's the long-suffering residents of Baghdad, but most liquor stores in the city have been forced out of business by the appalling security situation.

But since the Americans' latest surge in the Iraqi capital, a degree of stability has taken hold and slowly drinks retailers are opening again for business.

The threat to store owners is now

not so much religious fundamentalism or mortar attacks, but kidnapping - demand for alcohol is increasing, and so are their takings.

The Houston Chronicle interviewed Ameen, a store owner who has relocated to larger premises near the fortified Green Zone following a mishap at his former store in the east of the city. He arrived at the shop for work one morning, but could find no trace of it. "It was blown to smithereens, just like that," he said.

Kind of puts graffiti and test purchases into perspective.

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