LONDON (AP) – Wine is out of this world. The price is suitably stratospheric.
Christie’s said on Tuesday it was selling a bottle of French wine that has spent more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station. The auction house believes a wine connoisseur could pay up to $ 1 million to own it.
The Pétrus 2000 is one of 12 bottles sent into space in November 2019 by researchers exploring the potential of alien agriculture. It came back 14 months later, subtly altered, according to oenologists who tasted it during a tasting in France.
Tim Tiptree, international director of Christie’s Wines and Spirits Department, said the space-aged wine had been “matured in a unique environment” of near-zero gravity aboard the space station.
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The trip turned a $ 10,000-a-bottle wine known for its complexity, silky, ripe tannins, and dark cherry, cigar box and leather flavors into a scientific novelty – and still a great bottle of wine, said Tiptree.
“It’s just a very harmonious wine that has the ability to age superbly, which is why it was chosen for this experience,” he said. “It’s very encouraging that it’s delicious on the way back to Earth.”
Private space startup Space Cargo Unlimited put wine into orbit in November 2019 as part of an effort to make plants on Earth more resilient to climate change and disease by exposing them to new stresses. Researchers also want to better understand the aging process, fermentation and bubbles in wine.
In a tasting test in March at the Wine and Vine Research Institute in Bordeaux, France, a dozen wine connoisseurs compared one of the space-traveled wines to a bottle of the same. vintage that had stayed in a cellar.
They noticed a difference that is difficult to describe. Jane Anson, writer at the Decanter Wine publication, said the wine that was left on Earth tasted a bit younger, the space version slightly smoother and more aromatic.
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The wine, offered by Christie’s for private sale, is accompanied by a bottle of Terrestrial Pétrus from the same vintage, a decanter, glasses and a corkscrew made from a meteorite. All in a handcrafted wooden trunk with decoration inspired by science fiction pioneer Jules Verne and the “Star Trek” universe.
The proceeds from the sale will fund future research by Space Cargo Unlimited. Several other bottles from the dozen that went into space are still unopened, but Christie’s says there are no plans to sell any of them.
Tiptree says the price estimate, “in the region of $ 1 million,” reflects the sale’s likely appeal to a mix of wine connoisseurs, space enthusiasts and the sort of wealthy people who raise money. “ultimate experiences”.
The bundle includes the 2000 Pétrus bottle that remained on Earth so that the buyer can compare the two – if he decides to open the one that has entered orbit.
“I hope they decide to drink it, but maybe not immediately,” Tiptree said. “It’s in its prime, but this wine will probably last at least another two or three decades.”