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The best wine cellars in the sky

Very rarely do I get an opportunity to combine my two passions of aviation and wine and write about it.

A very special thanks to the In-flight Supervisor on a recent Singapore Airlines flight who went in to the first class cellar and served me a superlative Chateau Leoville Poyferre, St. Julien, Bordeaux. Even at 35,000ft, it was one the best airborne wine experiences I had.

Recently Business Traveller magazine, judged and presented its “Cellars in the Sky” awards to various airlines.

A special congratulations to the folks at Jet Airways at making the grade.

What did surprise me is that while many wines from producing powerhouses like France, Italy, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, and Chile, made the grade, the airlines from these respective countries did not. Also missing were producers and airlines from the United States.

Cellars in the Sky: Results for 2008

Business class

Business class sparkling

  1. Charles Heidsieck (Mis en Bouteille 2008), Champagne, France. Joint winners: KLM, Singapore Airlines
  2. Henriot Souverain NV, Champagne, France. Joint winners: Emirates, LAN
  3. Charles Heidsieck (Mis en Bouteille 2007), Champagne, France. Joint winners: Asiana, British Airways, Qantas
  4. Piper-Hiedsieck NV, Champagne, France. Korean Air
  5. Dom Pérignon 2000, Champagne, France. Jet Airways

Business class white

  1. Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett 2005, Mosel, Germany. Qatar Airways
  2. Coldstream Hills Chardonnay 2006, Yarra Valley, Australia. Qantas
  3. Highfield Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Marlborough, New Zealand. Air New Zealand
  4. Bernhard Ott Fass 4 Gruner Veltliner 2007, Wagram, Austria. Austrian Airlines
  5. Anakena Ona 2007, Alto Cachapoal, Chile. LAN

Business class red

  1. Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2005, Wellington, New Zealand. Cathay Pacific
  2. Cline Cellars Cool Climate Syrah 2005, Sonoma Coast, California. British Airways
  3. Luis Canas Reserva 2002, Rioja, Spain. Iberia
  4. Corbières Gerard Bertrand 2006, Languedoc, France. Lufthansa
  5. Casa Silva Los Lingues Gran Reserva Carmenère 2005, Colchagua, Chile. KLM

Business class fortified / dessert

  1. Forrest Estate Botrytised Riesling 2007, Marlborough, New Zealand. Air New Zealand
  2. Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage Port 2004, Douro, Portugal. Lufthansa
  3. Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Liqueur Muscat NV, Glenrowan, Australia. Qantas
  4. Taylor’s 20-year-old Tawny Port NV, Douro, Portugal. Qatar Airways
  5. Jurancon Prestige Cave de Gran Jurancon NV, Jurancon, France. Delta

Best business class cellar

  1. KLM
  2. Qantas
  3. Air New Zealand
  4. LAN
  5. Qatar Airways

First class

First class sparkling

  1. Piper Heidsieck Cuvée Rare NV, Champagne, France. Lufthansa
  2. Krug Grande Cuvée, Champagne, France. Joint winners: ANA, Jet Airways
  3. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1998, Champagne, France. Joint winners: LAN, Asiana
  4. Charles Heidsieck 1995, Champagne, France. Qantas
  5. Salon Blanc de Blancs 1997, Champagne, France. JAL

First class white

  1. Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay 2005, Monterey, California. Lufthansa
  2. Coldstream Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2006, Yarra Valley, Australia. Qantas
  3. Spy Valley Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Marlborough, New Zealand. American Airlines
  4. Joint winners: Selbach-Oster Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2004, Mosel, Germany. TAM; Wegeler Bernkasteler Doctor Riesling Spatlese 2005, Mosel, Germany. American Airlines
  5. Manz Riesling Auslese Trocken 2005, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany. Korean Air

First class red

  1. Morton Estate Pinot Noir 2005, Marlborough, New Zealand. Qatar Airways
  2. Shotfire Shiraz 2005, Barossa, Australia. Lufthansa
  3. Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005, Rhône. France, Air France
  4. Mungo Park Shiraz 2008, Barossa, Australia. Emirates
  5. Pyrenees Ridge Reserve Shiraz 2005, Victoria, Australia. ANA

First class fortified / dessert

  1. Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Liqueur Tokay Muscat, NV, Rutherglen, Australia. Qantas
  2. Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2003, Douro, Portugal. Singapore Airlines
  3. Weingut Neef-Emmich Bacchus Beerenauslese 2007, Rheinhessen, Germany. Lufthansa
  4. Tio Pepe Fino Sherry, NV, Andalusia, Spain. Korean Air
  5. Ramos Pinto Quinta da Ervamoira Porto Ten Anos NV, Porto, Portugal. Cathay Pacific

Best first class cellar

  1. Lufthansa
  2. Qantas
  3. TAM
  4. Emirates
  5. Qatar

To locate these wines, I recommend wine-searcher.com.

I have written a book entitled Wines Demystified. Please download your free copy in Adobe Acrobat format here.

Read more about the programme including judging procedures here.

Image : Wikipedia

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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