Geology rocks

Desert sunset

Before I begin, I'd like to thank the universe for the opportunity to be here. If a supenova billions of years ago hadn't performed a bit of nuclear fusion to make zinc atoms, I wouldn't have been able to write this post about wine in the desert. I also wouldn't be alive, but that's another matter. I'd also like to thank global warming in the Miocene that created a tropical, acidic environment that leached our friend zinc from its rock and set it free in the soil. Finally, I'm indebted to the capacity of zinc to improve photosynthesis in leaves, which means it gets sucked up by plants, which means that geologists can come up with mad theories to pick leaves as a way to study the subsurface, which means that I get to hang out in the desert and drink wine.

These are the Mundi Mundi plains in western New South Wales. As it's a proven fact that deserts and wine form a mutually beneficial relationship*, I decided it was time to open the Primo Estate Sangiovese. Now, this post isn't really about the wine at all. I could have been drinking the cheapest swill and it still would have been great. Like food, it's more than just taste and flavour. Sitting on the bonnet of a dusty NSW Geological Survey 4WD, the sun setting with the landscape glowing almost purple in the fading light, the moon full behind us- this is far more important than how long the wine was kept in oak barrels or what time the grapes were picked. So get out there. Find a desert. Drink up.

*See McCrae and Vittermoser's famous 1993 article 'Semi-arid environments and fermented grape juice: hell yeah'.

Desert sunset

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