Recently, an exhibition curated by Marco Goldin and dedicated to the subject of night opened at the Palladian Basilica in Vicenza. It traces an arc from the Ancient Egyptians (including the “boy king” Tutankhamen) all the way to contemporary painters like López García.
What about wines? Are some more suited to the day and others to the night? Well, as a matter of fact, yes.
Lunchtime is the moment for light whites and rosés—aromatic, lively, graceful, expressive, mimetic, extroverted and versatile wines. They boost our energy levels thanks to their caloric value and charm. They are thirst quenching and aid digestion. And, when drunk in moderation, these wines offer us clarity and increased eloquence, much like they did back at the Ancient Greek symposia.
The color of the sky at sunset pairs beautifully with cherry red rosés: attractive, sensual, light-hearted wines brimming with wild berries.
When night falls, it not only ushers in the dark, but our taste for reds—big wines that are higher in alcohol, mysterious, rich, full in both body and soul… These are wines that need to breathe and invite reflection, opening up as dawn approaches and gently easing our sleep. This is the moment when our mood calls for quiet, rest, tranquility, meditation, warmth, introversion, assertiveness and dialogue, as Kierkegaard already expressed with “in vino veritas.”
Artists like Van Gogh and Monet praised this celebrated pairing in their most famous paintings, where the sun has long departed from the sky, and the red grapes become part of the color palette. Wine forges a link with a metaphor—the night as a journey taking us beyond this world—and allows us to discover that which is too often concealed and hardest to find: our inner self. Wine helps us to explore the depths of our own light and shadow. During the Romantic period of Turner and Friedrich the night seemed most impenetrable, their style marked by figures who face a fierce and indomitable nature.
Nowadays, the moon still exerts its influence on vintages and many vine treatments. “Ho sempre pensato che l’arte sia il racconto della vita,” says Marco Goldin. And it is true that wine, like other forms of art, also changes with the seasons and tastes differently depending on the time of day.
In summer, when the sun is bright and temperatures high, we tend to seek out fresher wines. The endless hours of sunshine let us set the most robust reds aside for when night falls like an eagerly awaited cool cloak.
In The Little Prince it says, “What is essential is invisible to the eye…” Celeste, Torres's Ribera del Duero, is like the sky, with the Milky Way lighting up a path across the palate, which coats, warms, restores and flatters the senses.
“It's like with the flower. If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night. All the stars are a-bloom with flowers,” writes Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. And it is true, red wines also have their floral range with notes of violets, roses and aromatic herbs.
Savor the fresh coolness of the night and its wines so as to greet the next day with greater clarity. We end as we began, with Arte e Vino, a Venetian exhibition in Verona, showing at the Gran Guardia until August 16th. The 184 artworks on display span a period from the Cinquecento to the 19th century. Clusters of grapes fill the canvases, along with glasses, toasts, communions, changing seasons, harvests, images of the sacred and the profane, allegories and metaphors of moods… And everything is steeped in the chiaroscuro of wine.