A bottle of wine was thrown into space. This is how it tastes now

(CNN) – When most of us need to sound smart about wine, we just tilt the glass a little, inhale deeply, and murmur something about black fruit.

But a group of French wine connoisseurs have detected a hint of stardust at their latest tasting, after becoming the first people in the world to taste and review wine that spent a year in space.

Experts in Bordeaux analyzed the contents of a 2000 bottle of Chateau Petrus Merlot, one of 12 taken into space in a SpaceX capsule in an attempt to explore “new ways to grow plants.”

So what does cosmic wine taste like?

“I found there was a difference in both the color and the aromatics and also the taste,” wine writer Jane Anson told CNN on Thursday.

“It just felt a little older, a little more evolved than the wine that was left on Earth,” he said, adding that the tannins in the cosmic wine were more evolved and had a more floral character.

The group of experts tasted the wine along with another glass of the same variety that had remained on Earth, before being told which was which.

And Anson concluded that his adventure above the stratosphere added about two or three years of maturity to the drink.

The organizers chose a popular Merlot 2000 for the project.

Philippe Lopez / AFP / Getty Images

“Definitely not every day they ask you to taste a wine that has been in space,” Anson said. “If you were going to drink it tonight, the one that had been in the space was probably a little more ready to drink. It was a little more open,” he said.

Chateau Petrus is the most famous winery in Pomerol, a Bordeaux town known for its Merlot production.

Anson explained that the organizers chose a 2000 bottle because it is popular with drinkers and has proven to be a good vintage, meaning there were plenty of tasting notes to compare the cosmic version to.

A bottle of the regular vintage, which lives on Earth, would cost around $ 6,000.

The wine and vines left Earth in two shipments in November 2019 and March 2020, landing on our planet near Cape Canaveral, Florida, in January.

They are now being analyzed to see how they have changed during their time in space, where the effects of microgravity and greater radiation exposure than on Earth accelerate genetic changes. Scientists will compare the vines to specimens left on Earth, with the goal of adapting the vines to grow in harsher environments.

Philippe Darriet, organizer of the project and director of the Institute of the Oenological Research Unit of Vine, Science and Wine, told CNN that, for 14 months, the wine was “in different conditions of aging” than on Earth.

“The question we asked was: Did these aroma-giving components, the flavor-giving components, evolve differently when the wine was in space?”

A total of 12 bottles were shipped, of which only one was tasted. The others will now be further analyzed, he added.

And Darriet is also eager to see the analysis of the strains that were shipped along with the bottles. “Perhaps this type of work will allow us in the future to have plants that acquire different adaptive properties, in relation to the problems of climate change,” he said.

CNN’s Jack Guy contributed to this report.


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