13 April, 2021

Mixed Shots

Passing through: A chuckle here, a teardrop there

Pink Feathers—It’s time again to savour the sight of flamingos, like this flock at a creek in Navi Mumbai. But with Covid upticking, birdwatchers are far and few.
Mixed Shots

Space-Flying Vintage

It tastes like rose petals. It smells like a campfire. It glistens with a burnt-orange hue. What is it? A 5,000-euro bottle of Chateau Petrus Pomerol wine that spent a year in space. Researchers in Bordeaux are analysing a dozen bottles of the precious liquid—along with 320 snippets of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines—that returned to Earth in January after a sojourn aboard the International Space Station. That’s part of a longer-term effort to make plants on earth more resilient to climate change and disease, and to better understand the ageing process, fermentation and bubbles in wine. The vine snippets—known as canes in the grape-growing world—survived the journey and grew faster than vines on earth, despite limited light and water. For the average earthling, the question is: What does cosmic wine taste like? Not easy to define. Some observed “burnt-orange reflections”. Others evoked aromas of cured leather or a campfire.

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