A Bafta-award-winning composer with synaesthesia – also known as a 'union of the senses' – reveals what the flavours of wine sound like

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Image: This is what wine sounds like, apparently

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We like the sound of that …

What do you taste when you sip on a glass of vino? Chocolate? Peaches? Floral notes?

 

It turns out that wine can create musical notes, too – that's if you have a condition known as synaesthesia.
 

Composer Nick Ryan has the neurological condition, where two or more of the senses are involuntarily experienced together, meaning he can hear and see taste.
 

The Bafta-award-winning musician has now developed a series of ‘soundscapes’, which represent how individual vintages of wine sound – and he thinks this could be a more useful way to help people pick out their plonk than tasting notes or reading labels. 

 

Ryan said: “We have only tested it on a few people but it seems to be a profoundly moving and engaging experience. Some people said their landscape actually moved.

 

“A lot of people said they didn’t realise that the taste of wine lasted so long in the mouth until they were listening to the composition.

“Words have limitations. They can’t always accurately describe a sensation. And people can be put off by wine labels, which say it tastes of cigars or liquorice.

“But if the label is linked to a sound, say through a smartphone, they could get a better idea.”


Ryan wrote scores for the wine company Campo Viejo, using three different wines: a cava and two rioja blends of different ages. He noted that acidic wines sounded high pitched, while sweet fruity blends needed more harmonious and complex compositions.

 

He also used a mixture of instruments alongside the sounds of corks popping and wine pouring to show how sound and taste work together.

 

Confused? Watch how he did it here