Vernissage with Bordeaux Wine – Art, Wine, Poetry, and Music

Excerpts from the book “Art Château” – vol. 1

Vernissage imaginaire – Invitation to the Opening

A festive occasion like an anniversary or a vernissage is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a fine wine. This gave us the idea to create a series of books called “Art Château” celebrating the special relationship between wine and art. Without question, wine stimulates the imagination – and the exchange of thoughts. We should only pay serious attention, however, to the truly fine wines. The joy of winetasting should not be the result of alcohol. Drinking wine is not about making life fade into the distance – even if this aspect of it tends to be glorified in volumes of brilliant poetry. Wine as a cultural treasure goes far beyond drinking, and many of the landscapes where the grapes are grown enchant us with their quaint historical appeal.

A famous vineyard location can definitely be on par with a work of art. Among the many creatures on this earth, man is the only one that has been gifted a language to express the world of sense perception and emotional sensation, a “language of the soul” whose highest achievements we call art. Few of us are proficient active speakers, and yet, it is the common property of all. Art elevates us beyond ourselves, to the spheres of the unspeakable. Wine cannot be considered a muse, it is however, said that only those who value art, poetry, and music, can truly treasure it. In this vein, I recommend expanding the experience of drinking wine by listening to music (such as classical music), reading a book (such as a literary classic) or looking at a work of art.

This art and gift book introduces 44 selected artists from 22 countries around the globe. The interpretations focus mainly on the visible, specific side of paintings and sculptures, mostly leaving out aspects related to the artists’ résumés. To learn more about the artists, please refer to their respective websites. Although an artist’s biography can be likened to a wine’s terroir, the “Enter-into-Art” series invites art lovers to connect with the artworks themselves and their contemplative interpretation. Feel free to pick a painting, mindfully dwell on it following our instructions for meditative art observation, and relax – as you would at a winetasting. The verbal observations accompanying the paintings are reduced to precious miniatures of artistic expression striving to offer an astute glimpse of the creators’ soul.

Art has always been the product of history and contemplation. In the same vein, based on the “Enter-into-Art” concept, each book in the “LOUNGE 1” series will introduce the famous cultural treasure of a specific wine region, and one or several works of music to accompany it. By introducing musical works, we hope to inspire readers to expand their perception to the tonal aspects of art and poetry. Together with a cornucopia of artworks and haiku poetry, this exquisite taste and sound-based foundation makes for a stunningly harmonious overall bouquet.

The following texts are positioned at the beginning of each chapter:

Chapter 1

Grand Cru – A Stimulating Start

Sensuality has a Taste

At the Theater of Dionysos located at the foot of the acropolis, the Ancient Greek gods were embodied by priests taking their seats on the lavish marble thrones in the first row of the stalls. The Roman Bacchanalia correspond with the Dionysia, which used to take place at the beginning of the growing season every year. In this light, we feel tempted to make a bold move and put the joy of wine on par with the joy of art. History and legend permeate the aura of every major wine: Noble qualities like grace, poetry, heroism and loneliness can only reside within the nectar of the gods – a gift that lets us taste the essence of sensuality. We only need to look at the epiphanies of Dionysos or the cult of Osiris, where excessive wine drinking is considered an entrance to a different world. But why not try this instead: Drink in the pages of this book and let its art intoxicate you! It is the emotional aspect of the work we encourage you to focus on – as you would when meditating on the taste of a fine wine at a winetasting!

Chapter 2

Sensually abstract

Wine and Art – An Emotional Address

Even the qualitative aspects of art and wine make for an easy comparison. At first sight, grapes look just like any old fruit– and yet, they are the stuff of which great wines are made. Like a work of art or a haiku poem, through mindful enjoyment, wine transforms into a radiant manifestation of all the magic powers that reside in nature. An artwork is regarded in the context of its history, a wine in light of its past. Reverently, we declare its individual character based on its background. Elf-like, silky-soft, opulent, or belligerent, there is something else that art and wine have in common: It takes time and patience for them to unfold. Art cannot be produced in a hurry – and the sensuality at the core of a good wine can only develop its taste if, by maturing, it can absorb the impalpable and the magical, take its time to find the right goals, and, in the final act, blossom through every tastebud open to this miracle.

Chapter 3

Full of Character

Fine Wines are Architectural Masterpieces

A work of art is always an expression of the artist’s soul. Equally, it is the nature of its soul that makes a good wine. The more radiant, the better it is. Like art reception, wine meditation takes background into account. Wine descriptions stunningly resemble the hagiographies of the ancient and medieval world. In the footsteps of Picasso, van Gogh, and Cézanne, art lovers may travel through Provence, and the best way of meditating on a wine is to visit its native cultural and historical terroir. As it is hardly feasible, however, to travel to the birthplace of each wine we want to taste, we should at least read the descriptions, and take a mental tour of the vineyard that served as its cradle. Architecture and winemaking are doubtlessly related arts. Only the profound consideration and understanding of the natural conditions, and the careful reflection of time and location enable the architect to build a comfortable house – both in the sense of construction and living philosophy. As in nature-oriented haiku poetry, it is all about seeing, feeling, listening, smelling, and tasting the countless voices nature reveals in its sublime polyphony.

Chapter 4

Ideal Terroir

Born from Nature

A winemaker who cares about his vineyards is at home in nature with all his senses and his memory. At a proper winetasting, we have to fully give into nature. Like the taste of a great wine, a work of art can give wings to our imagination and unfold whole vineyards or landscapes of associations in front of our inner eye. Wine, like art, shows its gratefulness when we refrain from pushing it, and allow time for its rebellious facets to play out. The scent of a wine rises as slowly and gently from the glass as the warm afterglow of the sun in a painting, or the deep garnet red at the ruby core of a poem. Marcel Duchamp opined that it was the observer that made a painting. The painting or the poem, however, had to educate the person at the receiving end in order to be understood. The wine we taste does quite the same. We have to let it be and take our time to calmly register every aspect of its individual nature. When we truly enjoy something in this way – be it wine or art – our experience is lifted above the sphere of words and takes us to a kingdom beyond the boundaries of language.

Chapter 5

Melange

Art, Joy, and Passion

The reason we tend to drink wine at a vernissage may have to do with the fact that wine and art traditionally make a great team when it comes to taking our soul to a different realm. Interesting wines possess something like their own karma, the history of their reception resembles that of a painting or an opera. Wine tastings are virtually celebrated as poetic offerings. Therefore, a fine wine should not be missing at a vernissage. It is the wine that allows art lovers to step across the threshold of the unspeakable and takes them to the spiritual space they seek to enter. It was not without reason that Hafez, the famous Persian poet who dedicated many a line to the magic of ancient winemaking regions, wanted to be buried inside a barrel full of wine. His most famous poem is an ode to wine. Every word on his poetic keyboard stands for a secret, like colors, wood, and stone in the hands of painters and sculptors – only in the overall impression, and through our artistic perception, the magic of nature reveals itself. The materials of winemaking are stone, wood, glass, a little iron, grapes, a good location – and, last but not least – the passion of the winemaker.

The text and the poems in this post are excerpts from the book “Art Château, Vol. 1 – Vernissage with Bordeau Wine“.

Sources: Please see the bibliography in the above link to the online book!