Space wine

You may have missed the out-of-this-world wine news late last year when a dozen bottles of Bordeaux wine arrived at the International Space Station.

No, this was not a bon vivant venture to pair quality wine with the astronaut’s desiccated dinners. The bottles are stored in individual custom-designed aluminum canisters with form-fitting foam inserts and redundant O-ring seals. The canisters cannot be opened until the vino returns to Earth after a year in microgravity.

The research project is acronymed WISE (all research projects must have a clever acronym). WISE stands for Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia. Try saying that three times after drinking a bottle of Bordeaux.

“Wine as a complex multi-component system is a great model for the understanding of these processes,” Dr. Michael Lebert, the mission’s scientific manager and a cell biologist at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, told the publication Unfiltered. “The exposure of life to the absence of gravity allows us to provoke an organism in a unique way, which cannot be simulated on Earth.”

Twelve identical bottles are stored on Earth. When the WISE bottles return from the space station, experts will test and taste them against the earth-bound bottles to see if the next big thing will be to age your trophy wine in orbit. Yes, the 21st century is shaping up to be weird in so many ways.

Tasting notes:

• Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Reserve Blanc 2017: People not really into wine will enjoy. Light vivacity is its major note. $10-14 Link to my review

• Mt. Tabor Gewürztraminer, Galilee 2016: Semi-sweet wine from Israel with vivid aromas—what you expect from gewürztraminer—and exuberant fruitiness. $14-16 Link to my review

• Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé: Crémant delivers great value in French sparkling made in the traditional method. Do not hesitate to put this on your shopping list. $20-24 Link to my review

• P+S Prats & Symington Post Scriptum de Chryseia, Duoro 2017: Smooth, big, bold. Portuguese red blend with extraordinary quality-to-price ratio. $22-26 Link to my review

• Gioacchino Garofoli Podium Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2016: Outstanding fruit with balancing acidity, minerality, and splash of saline on the lengthy finish. $26 Link to my review

• Fort Ross Winery Sea Slopes Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2017: Silky with tasty chardonnay flavors presented without overlay of oak and butter. Nice saline notes. $27-30 Link to my review

Last round: Coffee gets me started in the morning, but I count on wine to carry me past the finish line in the evening.