Time to come clean. This website has been far too quiet this year for a very good reason. When Dave and I started this site we kept our professional lives away from it, we never mentioned where we worked or what we did apart from vague allusions to being kind of scientists. But this year, our work lives took on such a heavy load that our website slowed to a crawl, and occasionally died for days at a time before we even noticed. The very good reason for this is that Dave and I were both PhD students, rapidly approaching the end of our research, and this is an extremely busy and stressful time for PhDs. Hence the site taking a back seat to our "real lives".
You may have noticed the past-tense in the above paragraph. Dave and I have both now (within a few months of each other) submitted our theses, and while we are not yet officialy doctors, it is one massive step closer. And today I'm going to write about a promise I made myself when I started my post-graduate education. I think it was in 2005, when my Dad - ever the man able to find strange or rare wines at bargain prices - presented me with this:
Yep. That's a can o' wine. A vintage 1998 Iron Bridge Cabernet Shiraz no less. This little 330mL can sat on the shelf in my office through a year of Honours study, and 4 and a half years of my PhD. It's moved offices 4 times, and started countless conversations (with people who knew I was a wine-head, and those who just thought I was an alco). It was about the end of my first year of PhD (when one is confirmed as a PhD candidate), that I decided - when I hand in my thesis, that can of wine is being opened. I figured it's hardly going to be corked now is it?
So this is it. That's the wine, the glass, and the thesis. I have to say, it was kind of an emotional occasion. This little can has been my constant companion through years of data collection, analysis, literature searches, poster creation, paper writing, presentation preperation, and of course thesis writing. And this was it. It was time for our relationship to come to a final, and fitting, end.
So how was it? After all the build up, the emotional attachment, the final relief. If there was justice in this world, it would have been amazing, subtle, good fruit and tannin, a touch of spice and pepper, and hints of all the wonderful berries that come to be expected in some of my favourite wines.
So is there justice in this world? In a word - no. To be honest, I didn't expect it to be good, but I did not expect it to be this bad either. I've had some bad wines in my time, a $4 Aldi special comes immediately to mind, I've also had some which have been past it, oxidised, corked etc. But this one didn't fall into any of those traditional categories. This was a bad wine in a way I've never experienced, it wasn't vinegar, it wasn't anything; it was just deeply, distrubingly awful. Seriously, if anyone ever needs to torture a wine judge at a blind tasting, I would recommend this, I would actually love to hear from someone who knew exactly what flaws they were tasting to try and find them all in this wine. I have the feeling it runs the gammut.
To be fair to the producers, I don't know what the wine was like going into the can, but I know what it was like coming out. And yes, I'm sure the 10 year maturing in can (that phrase sounds so wrong), is well beyond what the makers expected when they made this product. But as someone who truly loves wine, this little can shook me to my core. But hey, at least my PhD thesis had been handed in.
ADDENDUM: This happened some weeks ago now, reasons the site has been slow to update since this point has been a combination of illness and injury. Now Christmas is coming up and Dave is off travelling, it'll probably stay slow for a while to come. But who knows, maybe we'll get our mojo back.