Experts enjoy a £ 4,000 bottle of wine that has been in space for a year – and show what it tastes like on world news
Researchers in Bordeaux are analyzing a dozen bottles of French wine and snippets of grapevines that have returned to Earth after a year on the International Space Station.
The purpose of the space mission was part of a long-term effort to make plants on earth more resilient to climate change and disease by exposing them to new stresses and to better understand the aging process, fermentation and bubbles in wine.
At a unique tasting, 12 connoisseurs tried one of the space-appropriate wines and blindly tasted the 5,000 euro bottle of Chateau Petrus Pomerol and a bottle from the same vintage that had remained in a cellar.
“I have tears in my eyes,” said Nicolas Gaume, CEO and co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited, which arranged the experiment when the bottles were carefully uncorked at the Institute for Wine and Wine Research in Bordeaux.
“When you expose to wine, when you expose cells and plants to a non-gravity environment … we cause tremendous stress on all living species,” he said.
Jane Anson, a wine expert and author of The Decanter, said the wine that stayed on earth tasted “a little younger than what was in space.”
Chemical and biological analysis of the aging process of wine could enable scientists to artificially age fine vintages, said Dr. Michael Lebert, biologist at the Friedrich Alexander University in Germany.
Hundreds of snippets of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grape vines not only survived the trip, but also grew faster than grapevines on Earth despite limited light and water, but it’s too early for researchers to determine why.
Dr. Lebert said it could help scientists develop more stable vines on Earth – and pave the way for viticulture and winemaking in space.
He also said, “Grapes … are very healthy for the astronauts.”
But how did cosmic wine taste?
“For me, the difference between space and earth wine was not easy to define,” said Franck Dubourdieu, an agronomist and oenologist from Bordeaux, an expert in wine and winemaking.
The researchers said each of the 12 panelists had an individual response.
Experts said the wine tasted like rose petals, smelled of campfire or hardened leather and shimmered in a “burnt orange tone”.
“The one who stayed on earth for me was a little more closed, a little more tannic, a little younger. And the one who was in space, the tannins had softened, the side with more floral aromas came out “said Ms. Anson.
But whether the vintage was spaceworthy or earthbound, she said, “They were both beautiful.”