Chócale! This Chilean Wine Was Aged With A 4.5-Billion-Year-Old Meteorite

There's this concept in the wine-tasting community of "terroir" — the flavor in the wine that was imparted by the earth in which the grapes grew. But for some wines, the earthy notes don't necessarily come from, well, Earth.

Meteorito is the only wine in the world with ties to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, though it's not the only out-of-this-world adult beverage on the market.

A Cab Sav With Notes Of The Vacuum Of Space

Astronomer Ian Hutcheon is from Scotland originally, but in the late '90s he relocated to San Vicente, Chile, where he began working at the Observatorio Tagua Tagua. It wasn't just his interest in the stars that brought him to that particular observatory. As a lifelong lover of all things wine, Chile's growing community of winemakers and vineyard-keepers was a natural pull. So it's not too surprising that Hutcheon would purchase a vineyard in 2009, and even less so that he'd hit upon the perfect combination of his two great interests.

The first ingredient he needed was a meteorite. He bought a three-inch specimen from a collector from the USA, and as luck would have it, this one had a Chilean connection as well. It crashed down in Chile's Atacama Desert about 6,000 years ago, having broken off from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The next thing he had to do was decide which wine best paired with the 4.5-billion-year-old space rock. We'll let him explain.

"After a lot of experimenting with different varietals, and with the cabernet being a slightly more robust wine, a bigger wine, we realized that it would work better... because the meteorite does add a bit of mineral from the meteorite itself, so it makes the wine livelier. It brings out the flavors better."

After filling the new wood with his newly juiced cab sav, he lowers the meteorite into the barrel and leaves it there for 12 months. At that time, he blends in more cabernet sauvignon, and the wine is ready to toast the night's sky. Make no mistake — this is a wine for wine-lovers and outer space fans alike, which is why it's currently available only at the observatory.

More Spacey Spirits

Meteorito isn't the only booze from beyond our atmosphere. Actually, it's not even the only one that expresses its space-fandom through meteorites. Outerspace Vodka is probably the only spirit that's bottled in a bright green alien head, and it's definitely the only one that's filtered through a 4-billion-year-old meteorite. The Australian distiller definitely knows how to play up the campy sci-fi angle, which is why you'll find an Instagram page of alien heads in unlikely situations and revelers in elaborate costumes (including at least one dinosaur mask).

But for sheer effort, we've got to hand it to the good folks at Ninkasi Brewing. Unlike Meteorito and Outerspace Vodka, they don't have a single space rock that they can hang their astronomical hat on. Instead, their space-themed brews are made with yeast that has been to space — and that means every time they come out with a new one, they have to plan another launch. They've launched both amateur rockets and worked with the private spaceflight company UP Aerospace to give their yeast the flavor of weightlessness, and their most recent brew, Ground Control 2016, earned a respectable 89 ("very good") from Now we just have to figure out how to drink it through a space helmet.

Chilean Wine Out Of This World

Written by Reuben Westmaas September 16, 2017

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