Liz Palmer - Wine + Lifestyle Journalist
Liz Palmer | International wine and Lifestyle Journalist - - TOP CHAMPAGNES POURED AT 35,000 FEET - - 2011 Wines on the Wing awards
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TOP CHAMPAGNES POURED AT 35,000 FEET – – 2011 Wines on the Wing awards

Twenty-eight international airlines submitted over one hundred and thirty-six wines from their current international business-class, international first-class and North American wine lists. Thirty-one professional judges tasted, tested and rated them. The results of the 2011 Global Traveler “Wines on the Wing” are now in.

Each wine was judged on a modified Davis 20-point scale. The judges’ individual scores for each wine were added and averaged, and the averaged scores of an airline’s submissions were totalled. The airlines with the highest total score won the Wines on the Wing awards.

CHAMPAGNE RESULTS

This was the year for 1999 – V Australia won the International Business contest with Lanson Gold Label Brut 1999, which the judges called rich, complex, delicious and flavorsome. “We carefully select our Champagne and all our wines with an independent wine panel that meets four times a year,” said Alison Chalmer, General Manager, product, for Virgin Australia group. “In building our wine list, the aim is to enhance our restaurant-style in-flight dining experience.” In considering the best Champagne for the airline, the panel goes so far as to measure the persistence and spiral time of the bubbles, among other tests.

In the International First Class Champagne contest, Asiana Airlines came in first with Comtes de Taittinger Blanc de Blancs 1999, earning such judgments as “elegant with balanced acidity” and “both delicate citrus and toasty notes.”

TOP FIVE CHAMPAGNES INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

1. Lanson Gold Label Brut 1999 — V Australia
2. Jacquart Brut Mosaïque, NV — Lufthansa
3. Piper-Heidsieck Brut Red Label, NV — Air New Zealand
4. TIE De Venoge Blanc de Blancs 2002 — Asiana Airlines
5. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut 1998
— Qatar Airways

TOP FIVE CHAMPAGNES INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

1. Comtes de Taittinger Blanc de Blancs 1999
— Asiana Airlines
2. Cuvée Allegra Jacquart 2004 — Lufthansa
3. Drappier Grande Sendrée Brut 2004 — TAM
4. Bollinger La Grande Année Brut 2000 — Etihad Airways
5. Nicolas Feuillatte Brut, NV — American Airlines

How much do such winning wines cost an airline? While not many are willing to reveal, a few of the top-scoring airlines indulged us. Asiana spends approximately $2 million for 140,000 bottles for both business and first class. Etihad spends a total of about $6 million each year for its wines in all classes. OpenSkies would say only that “Wines are a priority spending area for us.” And EL AL’s answer was “A lot.”

PARTICIPATING AIRLINES

Air Canada
Air New Zealand
Alitalia
American Airlines
American Airlines – North America
Asiana Airlines
Delta Air Lines
EL AL Israel Airlines
Etihad Airways
Iberia Airlines
Jet Airways
LAN Airlines
Lufthansa
OpenSkies
Qatar Airways
South African Airways
TAM
TAP Air Portugal
US Airways
US Airways – North America
V Australia
Virgin America – North America

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About the author

Award Winning Author and Wine Journalist Liz Palmer is a well-respected wine journalist since 2004 and has an international reputation as a critic and judge. Liz has had the pleasure of interviewing and tasting with some of the industry’s leading winemakers, professors and personalities. Liz Palmer’s articles have appeared in national and international magazines. She is one of four founding international hosts for #ChampagneDay 2011-2017; she has served as a judge for the 2013-2017 Global Traveler's Wines on the Wing airline wine competition (New York); 2014-2017 Michelangelo International Wine Awards (South Africa) 2014-2017; and for The Stevie Awards for Women in Business (New York) (2014-2017). Her Memberships include: Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada, Circle of Wine Writers (UK), International Federation of Wine and Spirits Journalists and Writers (FIJEV); Wine Century Club (NYC), The Fine Wine Reserve, and Les Dames d’Escoffier (President – Toronto Chapter). 2017 Awards: Liz Palmer’s first book, “The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” has received the National Award for the best French Wine Book at the Gourmand World Awards 2017. On April 7th, 2017 she was awarded the title of “Dame Chevalier” of the Ordre de Coteaux de Champagne at an official ceremony in Paris.

1 Comments
  • Kristin - August 16, 2011

    You’re making me crave a glass of champers and it’s like 1 AM! Haha!

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