Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Ultimate Wine

That by which you can taste, but that which you can never taste

As with all things, there is always the Unobtainable. No wealth, no power, no amount of influence matters. Race as we may, looking to try this bottle or that rare vintage, some things cannot be held. Sometimes it is just beyond the human experience.

Sound odd to you? "What is that you are claiming?" you might ask? Less of a claim than a reality. The reality of the Ultimate Wine.

The Ultimate Wine doesn’t exist. Not for mere earthlings. Or at least for the tainted adults on the planet. The wine is possible, even probable. But no one has ever tasted it and reported back. No score, not 100 points. That would be bringing it down quite a ways out of its higher range. No lofty purple prose to describe it. Words, really? Again, that would be a pity to cut it down that way.

At best a wine like that could be an aspiration for a wine lover. But a destination? Sure tragedy. For to achieve an appreciation of something like the Ultimate Wine one must have Higher Powers. And wings not secured by wax.

Not even a master sommelier or master of wine would be suited for the job. No amount of tasting of reading or testing or writing would be sufficient to comprehend the Ultimate Wine. At best one might be able to say they could imagine it. It is possible that we taste (anything) because of it. But the actual "it-ness" of it? The mountain has never been climbed, let alone discovered.

But the exercise of imagining it can begin to bring one close to the base camp. Think about it. What do you expect of it? Do you expect so little of it that it would fit into your vocabulary? Is it so common that it can be analyzed for your taste buds? We're not talking about any wine, no Barolo, no Brunello. No '47 Cheval Blanc. No '31 Quinta do Noval "Nacional". None of the above. The wine has never made it to these shores, maybe not even to this galaxy. Surely not to this time period. Not that it isn't here all around us. It just exists in its own dimension.

Maybe we could ask a sadhu or a yogi, but I doubt if they would be interested in showing us the cellar in which it is kept. There are many more (or less) important things for them to devote themselves to. So we are stranded on the beach at the end of the world. Time cannot help us. Space is irrelevant. Even the sense of taste is useless. Again, the closest we can come to it is everything but "it."

A friend shouts out through the fog of consciousness, "Who cares?" Exactly. Not even something one can care about, so indecipherable it is. But still we search for it, look for it, read about it, lust after it, wanting to touch and smell and taste and luxuriate in its essence, this Ultimate Wine.

And the best we can do is chase after the ones that can be caught; the Nerello from Etna, the Nebbiolo from Serralunga, the Sangiovese from Buonconvento, the Corvina from Negrar. Small comfort, these gems we measure and allocate, only to miss out on the One that got away, the Ultimate Wine.

The ultimate realization being what we are missing out would blind us if were ever to behold it. That and the consolation that such an Ultimate Wine would be from the Source which you can never taste but that by which you can taste.

in memory of "Uncle Joe" Mandola ~ March 16, 1923 - July 7, 2012


Veronica said...

Beautifully written Alfonso!

Marco Aspromonte said...

There is a story that while on his death bed Carl Jung awoke from sleep and was surprised to find that he was still alive. He then asked his son (?) to go into his cellar and bring up a certain bottle of aged Bordeaux.

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