Astronomer creates wine from 4.5 billion-yr-old meteorite in Chile

A winemaker from Britain has combined his two favourite hobbies, wine and astronomy, to create Meteorito, a Cabernet Sauvignon aged with a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite.

From the Tremonte vineyard in the Cachapoal Valley in Chile, which Ian Hutcheon bought in 2009, the wine was barrel-aged over one year by the process of malolactic fermentation.

The Scottish expat first selects the grapes from his vineyard and then ferments the fruit for 25 days before beginning the year-long Malolactic fermentation process in a wine barrel containing the 7.6 centimetre (three-inch) meteorite.

After 12 months, the meteorite-infused wine is blended with another batch of Cabernet Sauvignon for the perfect balance of Earth and space.

"A major difference is that you are tasting elements from the birth of the solar system, and that for me this is a major difference," the Telegraph quoted Hutcheon as saying.

"You are tasting space, in a way you are physically tasting elements of the solar system and of the history of the meteorite that spent millions of years orbiting the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, you are tasting that," he said.

The meteorite crashed into Chile's Atacama Desert some 6,000 years ago and was lent to the British astronomer by an American collector.

Meteorito is only sold at the Tagua Tagua Astronomy Centre, launched by Hutcheon in 2007, where visitors can sip the vino while observing the stars and swirling planets in the sites observatory domes.

The first batch of Meteorito produced around 10,000 litres (2,600 gallons), and is sold at 5,000 dollars Chilean pesos, or roughly 7 pounds, a bottle.

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