Music could be beautiful - or not

There have been various studies over the years suggesting that playing certain types of music can influence what people buy in-store.

But Chilean wine producer Montes has now come up with research that shows music can actually change the taste of a wine.

Winemaker Aurelio Montes - who plays monastic chants to his wines because it aids their "peaceful and angelic maturation" - got bods at the department of applied psychology at Heriot-Watt University to investigate how the way music stimulates specific areas of the brain can alter the perception of wines drunk at the same time.

The research shows that when a heavy piece of music, such as Carl Orff's Carmina Burana O Fortuna, is listened to, a wine such as Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon is perceived as being 60% more powerful.

Montes hopes shops and bars will tailor music selections to help people get the most out of their wine - and is even considering putting music matching suggestions on its labels.

We wonder if listening to something as anodyne as James Blunt's You're Beautiful can remove any remaining traces of flavour from the most insipid Italian Pinot Grigio.

On the gravy train

While we're on the subject of unlikely crossovers between drinks and other products, allow us to introduce the latest soft drinks sensation from the US.

Krautkramer's Meatwater is described

in its makers' blurb as a "high efficiency survival beverage", but is in fact water flavoured with meat, as the more straightforward brand name suggests.

The water comes in a range of flavours that would make Heston Blumenthal self-combust with delight, including beef jerky, Peking duck and tandoori chicken.

There's even a fish and chips variant and a range of breakfast drinks including a full English and a brunch omelette.

The latest addition to the fast-growing range is Escargots Chantecleer, made for charity and destined initially for the French market.

Commenting on the flavour's "just for charity" ethos, Gary Faltemeier, chief financial officer of Liquid Innovations, said: "Our customers need a new flavour like a hole in the head."

Now there's a thought.

Scent of a man

A £50-a-pop men's fragrance inspired by Courvoisier Cognac is in with a shout of being named Fragrance of the Year in the US.

L'Edition Imperiale - which is sold in 25 countries in posh stores like Harvey Nicks and Harrods - has been nominated in the top five in the men's nouveau niche category of the Fragrance Foundation's FiFi Awards, with the chance of going forward to compete for the big prize.

At last it's going to be fashionable to end a night out smelling like a distillery.

Extreme shirting

Bear Grylls - the man who has done more to promote the cause of naked barbecuing than anyone else in 2008 - was on hand to induct members of the Cordon Rouge Club at the Royal Geographic Society.

The club has been formed by Mumm Champagne to celebrate extraordinary human achievement in exploration, sailing, adventure and discovery.

Members will meet once a year to approve and induct other members - and so on and so forth.

Founding members include round-the-world yachtswoman Dee Caffari, transatlantic rower


Cash in the Attic presenter Ben Fogle, and Everest mountaineer Neil Laughton.

We'd like to suggest the intrepid tailor behind Grylls' blue checked shirt and pink waistcoat combo for next year's shortlist.

Englishmen abroad

A quick mention for Brighton wine merchant Henry Butler and Andy Martin from the English Wine Centre, who are nearing the end of a 1,600km bike ride visiting notable wine producers in France and Italy

to raise the profile of English wine.

They're also raising money for a children's hospice in Sussex through their website