Music for Méthode Marlborough Day

Putting together the perfect playlist for pétillance

By Dr Jo Burzynska


Here in New Zealand, we’re getting ready for Méthode Marlborough Day this Friday, 25th March. It’s a celebration of Marlborough’s top sparkling wines at the close of the region’s sparkling grape harvest. Marlborough’s cool climate is well suited to serious sparkling wine production, with wines from Méthode Marlborough members well worth seeking out.


There’s lots going on in a glass of sparkling wine, which can interact interestingly with a variety of musical features. Here are some things to think about when you’re selecting the music to play on Méthode Marlborough Day.


Pitch - the crisp acidity that characterises sparkling wines has an affinity with higher pitches, which should ideally be dominant in the music with which they’re paired.


Timbre - bright tones, such as bells and violins, as well as slightly rougher tones, such as cymbals, and harder percussive sounds help emphasise the effervescence. The richer yeasty flavours derived from the Méthode Traditionelle, also suit fuller timbres.


Tempo - a fairly fast tempo matches a lively mousse


Rhythm - syncopation is a sensational match for the intense effervescence


Mood - depends on the wine - for more uncomplicated and fruit-driven examples, choose music that’s similarly light hearted, while more complex fizz calls for something more serious.


Those interested in the art and science behind these suggestions might want to check out the in-depth article I wrote on The Music of Effervescence here on the Oenosthesia substack. This investigates the latest scientific studies and fascinating creative projects exploring the synergies between sound and sparkling wine. (Click HERE!)


What’s on my sparkling playlist

Serious - Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Spring 1

Chilled - Aphex Twin: Analogue Bubblebath

Light - Stereolab: Canned Candies

Lively - John Fahey: Wine & Roses

Fun - Disasteradio: Awesome Feelings


Do share your own matches on Méthode Marlborough Day - I’ll be here online to talk. Cheers!


Notes from Méthode Marlborough:

Jo Burzynska is a wine writer and judge, and sound artist and composer, with a PhD that investigated the effects of sound/music on the wine drinking experience. Her 25-year parallel careers in both areas converged 15 years ago with her discovery that the sensory synergies between wine and sound she’d personally perceived were widely shared.


Her website, Oenosthesia, and monthly newsletter is a VERY interesting subscription. Click this link to join Jo's 'cru'.