“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland)

Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin

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14 September 2012

SCARCE EARTHS, ANYBODY?

This is ironstone typical of the sort which occurs at the north-east corner of the McLaren Vale vignoble, atop the Maslin Sands formation.  This  beautiful region, in which I live, has many disparate geologies.  But unlike the Rare Earths group of elements, some of which are radioactive, rocks like this ironstone,  common in the Blewett Springs area and across the ridge toward Baker's Gully and Kangarilla, are great for growing grapes of unique flavour. As are many of the other distinct rocks and sands  around the Vales. Fortunately, they are not radioactive. Neither are they scarce. When the McLaren Vale winemakers got their geology map, some of them hastily chose the name Rare Earths for the appellation of their best Shiraz wines grown in certain distinct geologies, as displayed on the map. This to me seemed an unseemly and ill-researched grab at an idea that might to some justify a sudden hike in Shiraz prices. Shiraz is the most prolific grape in the region, and when this action began, the winemakers certainly had little idea of the implications of the intricate geologies they were about to begin learning.  Anyway, overlooking the true value or rarity of these seminal wines, I explained this nomenclature problem.  At which point the winemakers glibly changed the name to the almost impossible to pronounce Scarce Earths.  And sure enough, wines bearing this appellation immediately began appearing at around $100 per bottle.  (Chester Osborn, one of the proponents of both the previous misnomers, cleverly backed up with his own Amazing Sites selection, kicking off with fourteen wines.) China, rapidly becoming our biggest market for wine, also happens to be the world's biggest exporter of Rare Earths, the mining of which has become an internationally political, environmental and public health nightmare.  Quite reasonably, China hasn't twigged that there's a difference between scarce and rare, as best manifest in the following unsolicited sales e-mail. It is the latest of many I get from Chinese vendors who obviously scour the net for references to Rare or Scarce Earths. I doubt that they're looking for premium wine deals, although if you happen to mention it ... I have left some of Ruby's contact details attached, just in case you hope she's thirsty, or you plan to manufacture any of the products outlined below.

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are pleased to get to know that you are on the market For Neodymium Oxide

We are Taige International Trade Limited Company in China. We supply Neodymium Oxide with good quality and low price.

Our products :

Lanthanum Oxide, Gadolinium Oxide, Cerium Oxide, Neodymium Oxide, Europium oxide, Erbium Oxide, Samarium Oxide, Ytterbium Oxide, Lutetium Oxide,Terbium Oxide, Yttrium Oxide, Dysprosium Oxide ......

Please contact us to know details.

Thanks & B.rgds!

Ruby

Adress:No.168, Dongchang Road, Liaocheng City, Shandong
Website: http://www.taigetrade.com

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