Of all the topics we wine writers have thought appropriate to offer advice on, how our relationship with wine should reflect our various life stages has been overlooked in recent centuries — and is one that I think is worth reassessing.
While some ideas about wine and age will never regain popularity — Hippocrates’ suggestion that “infants should be bathed for long periods in warm water and given their wine diluted” is unlikely to find approval in today’s parenting circles — other ideas from the ancients seem better suited to mirror life stages and help ease the ageing process.
The memento mori is not as common today, and understandably so. Death is not as ubiquitous as it once was, and the ancients were more engaged with the philosophical questions on how to live a good life. Moreover, it is much more profitable today to suggest one will live forever, as the trillion-dollar health and beauty industries constantly remind us. These days a polite “to good health” might as well be “to younger-looking skin”.
This is an excerpt from my latest ‘Curiosities’ column for the World of Fine Wine.