What is Aether?
A wine cannot be made so much as minded
We have all the instruments and algorithms that modern vintners use, and these are helpful for making the wine hold together in the bottle. We see to the technical components, the raw materials, fruit, sourcing, uniqueness of terroir; all of the observational, empirical inputs that can be captured in a spreadsheet. But wine has ideas of its own.
What begins as naked elements puts on character with age. Wine has culture that can be cultivated or interrupted from moment to moment and hour to hour. With just enough warmth and care and lightness of hand, it develops soul. Not unlike you or me.
Great wine is part biochemistry and part neurochemistry. There can be subliminal, subconscious responses to wine that remove it from the realm of a beverage and elevate it to something with the capacity to deliver a transcendent experience.
That’s what the Greeks meant by aether: a layer of mystery between the Earthly realm and the heavens. It is the overlap of science and art and the vibe in good company that makes the food taste better. When we open our lips to the promise of a worthy wine, our breath leaves our bodies and we hover in the aether for an evening. The Greeks had a name for that too. They called it ecstasy.