I have been of the terrain of Mars at the base of Mount Sharp. The wide shot of the pale orangey-red surface of Mars is beautiful – and so Earthlike, it looks like one of our own deserts!
I wondered if any bright wine makers out there had named a wine after the planet – or perhaps a cuvée after the astral events unfolding this year. It’s not a daft idea – the French have had Comet Vintages for a century or so (see my blog Comet Vintages and Drinking Wine by Starlight).
Mars is named after the Roman god of War and this doesn’t seem to have inspired any vintners so far but there is a Vieux Chateau Champs de Mars (translates as the Old Chateau of the Fields of Mars) in Bordeaux, owned by Regis and Sebastien Moro, that makes wines under the Côtes de Castillon appellation.
However I did find a Martian wine! Martian Ranch and Vineyard is the creation of Nan Helgeland in Los Alamos California. The name Martian is the blending of the names of Nan’s sons Martin and Ian.
Their website says that ‘the Martian seen occasionally on the premises is as much a mystery to her as it is to anyone else’. Their wine labels are very catchy – Mothership Grenache Blanc, UFOric Albarino, Down to Earth Rosé and Ground Control Grenache Noir.
Is there a wine named for Venus, goddess of Love? Yes there is, and it’s also in Bordeaux. Chateau Venus lies in Preignac and makes award winning Graves AOC red wines. Chateau Venus is owned by Emmanuelle and Bertrand Amart, both of whom come from a long line of wine makers.
And what about Bacchus, the Roman god of Wine, you may be thinking? There is no planet named after Bacchus but there is an asteroid (well, it’s official name is actually 2063 Bacchus) and rather appropriately its orbit crosses both Mars and Venus. It’s a near-earth asteroid and was discovered in 1977 by Charles T Kowal and is classified as a Q-type asteroid.
Bacchus is an unusual little asteroid (it’s only about 1.11×0.53×0.50 km in size) as Q-types are relatively uncommon inner-belt asteroids that have a spectral slope that indicates the presence of metal and a broad 1 micrometre olivine and pyroxene feature. Olivine, when of gem quality, is known as Peridot.
Pyroxenes are a group of rock forming ferromagnesian silicates. The upper mantle of Earth is composed mainly of Olivine and Pyroxene so you never know, perhaps little Bacchus was once part of our planet.
I was pleased to find that Bordeaux once again came up trumps and there are two Chateaux named after Bacchus, the god of Wine: Chateau Bacchus, owned by Mr. Grimal, in Graves de Vayres produces both red and white wines and Chateau Bacchus de Viaud, owned by Jérôme Lafon, makes a red Côtes de Bourg.
Sadly the orbit of the asteroid Bacchus is somewhat tipsy, like its namesake, so it’s practically impossible to predict when it next passes Earth. At least we can enjoy the wine instead!