Wining in Style: A Business Class Wine List
Emirates is one of the leading airlines in the world, consistently ranking in the Top 10. I have been lucky enough to fly Business Class on a few rare occasions, and the experience is not one easily forgotten, simply because of the wine and food. In normal circumstances, Business Class food is equivalent to a fine dining restaurant, and the wine lists are usually based on a selection of wines from the departure/arrival country, and a hand-picked selection of other wines from around the world.
For the Emirates flight from Dubai to Melbourne, this was the wine list. There is a hefty smattering of wines from around the world, including most of the major regions. Starting off with Veuve Clicquot NV is not a bad way to start. For the select few to fly First Class, Dom Perignon 2004 is served. It has split quite a few critics, but most agree that the 2004 is a landmark Dom Perignon. Back to Business!
The Gonnet family make many wines in the Rhône Valley. The white on the menu is probably (like many other estates) a wine specially labelled and crafted for airline consumption. It is most probably a mix of 50% Roussanne, 25% Grenache Blanc and 25% Clairette, all grapes allowed under the appellation control system in the Rhône. The Gonnet family make other notable wines, including the Font de Michelle Cuvee, an example of Rhône Valley sparkling.
The other white on the menu is the Stellenrust 48 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2013 from Stellenbosch. South Africa is highly regarded for both its Chenin Blanc and its Pinot Noir. While the 2012 vintage won a Silver Medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition, I have not been able to locate any reports of the 2013 vintage for this wine. However, the wine is from a great South African vintage, with cooler temperatures aiding longer maturation of the grapes on the vine, thereby balancing acid with fruit concentration and good alcohol levels.
The red selection is, in my experience, usually of quite a high standard on Business Class flights. This flight saw two interesting wines served. The first was the second wine of the famous Chateau Figeac, but from a hit-or-miss vintage. Grange Neuve de Figeac is a Saint Emilion Grand Cru nonetheless, and should demonstrate all the characteristics of that area. I recently tasted a 2007 Chateau Laforge from the wine gurus at Chateau Teyssier, and found it to be a beautifully balanced wine, predominantly Merlot, and can say that I have no doubts about the quality of the 2007 Saint Emilion vintage in the bottle. It may not be an all-time classic, but certainly of a very high standard.
The other red is from Barone Ricasoli, recognised as the oldest recorded winery in Tuscany. I find most Italian wines generally bring a rugged country heat, especially when they are from Tuscany (the same can’t be said for my experience of Piedmont and Alto Adige). The Barone Ricasoli hails from the 2010 vintage, when difficult growing conditions meant reduced yields. What that often relates to is wines of a different makeup. Tuscan wines of 2010 show much elegance rather than power.
What would a good wine list be without finishing with a great aged Port from Portugal. The port is in fact Tawny, and pairs well with salty cheeses.
Good drinking to you!
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