After a year orbiting the globe, the galaxy’s first wine aged in space underwent its first taste test back on Earth.
Sommeliers at the Institute for Wine and Vine Research in Bordeaux uncorked the $5,890 (€5,000) bottle of Petrus Pomerol wine this week and did a blind taste test compared with a bottle of the same wine that had aged in a cellar.
“I have tears in my eyes,” Nicolas Gaume, CEO and co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited (the company that executed the experiment), told The Associated Press after his first sip.
The 12 panelists each had their own reaction to the space wine. Some said it evoked scents like cured leather, “burnt-orange” or a campfire.
“The one that had remained on Earth, for me, was still a bit more closed, a bit more tannic, a bit younger. And the one that had been up into space, the tannins had softened, the side of more floral aromatics came out,” Jane Anson, a wine writer and one of the panelists, told the AP. “They were both beautiful.”
In November 2019, SpaceX and Space Cargo Unlimited launched 12 bottles of the wine, along with 320 merlot and cabernet sauvignon vine snippets into space. Both bottles and snippets spent about a year at the International Space Station before landing back on Earth, in the Gulf of Mexico, in January.
The remaining wine is set to undergo months of chemical testing, wherein researchers will explore how aging in space affects the sedimentation and bubbles of the aging process.
Findings from the research could be used to either artificially age wine in the future or help grow sturdier plants as the threats of climate change looms over agriculture. New findings will likely take at least a decade before they are implemented into practical use.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.