The infinite of wine
Try to count numbers till they end is like to believe we can arrive to the place where the rainbow ends. We all did it at least one time in our life. Last week was that time for Archimede, my seven years old son. He was counting faster and faster, almost without breathing: onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleven…
Although the speedy, when he arrived to one hundred I start panicking expecting the next boring hundreds.
My mind went to Roman Opalka, the first artist that assumed the challenge of counting all is life long by painting the numbers instead of pronouncing them. He died after having depicted the 5.607.249. Achille Bonito Oliva, analyzing the space of the Opalka paintings, explained them as a theater where the difference – embodied by the numbers themselves- and the pause – that lives in the space between every two numbers - play their different role in space and time dimensions. With the infinite lying in that space of time, not measurable by the number themselves. Like a pause, an empty interstice from where the odd of each number departs.
Fivehundredonefivehundredtwofivehundredthree… - Archimede reached the five hundred.
I was sitting in front of a bottle of red wine and I start to think that farmers that produce wine are playing something similar to Opalka’s experience. Look at the vintage they put on the label of their bottles: 2014, 2015, 2016… Never the same wine, different wine every year!
If the vintages represent the difference, where is the infinite of the wine? – I could not stop to ask myself.
The question came to my mind meanwhile I was drinking a glass of Carmignano, the smallest Italian Denomination of Origin and the first wine we have started to import to Lebanon one year ago. And was like if memories started crowding into my mind:
Prato province, Tuscany, the first Denomination of Controlled Origin in the world, marked for the first time in 1716 by Cosimo III de’Medici, the same court where few years before Cosimo II hosted the Druze Lebanese Emir El Fakreddin, considered by some the first “Man of Lebanon”, prosecuted by the Ottoman Empire and became one of the most influential men of the cosmopolitan Lebanon we know. The DOC years later became part of the wider Chianti Denomination of Origin and today - thanks to a few stubborn winegrowers - returned back to the Carmignano Denomitation, claiming for its ultra-centenary history…
Sitting in front of the Colline San Biagio Carmignano bottle, I perceived the infinite of wine between the pause that separates each vintage. I felt the infinite in that sort of unmeasurable space and time between cultivation and tasting. A vacuum crossed by infinite stories and transmutations. A sense of infinite that brought me back to the earth. It was all around that small piece of land where my glass of wine was coming from. The smallest piece of land in the world, after thousands of years still offering the same grapes. Drinking a Carmignano glass I founded my pause between vintages and I flirted with the infinite of wine.
Ninehundredninetyeightninehundredninetynine… Archimede had a breath and, after a pause of few seconds exulted: one thousand!