Air France “l’Espace Affaires”- Crossing the Ocean in Style

April 9th2009 and I am beginning my ten-day journey to Paris, the Champagne Region ofFrance andBelgium. I am flying “l’Espace Affaires” (business class) fromToronto toParis, and looking forward to the “business class  travel” experience with Air France.AF Dinner

Settling into a large comfortable seat with a welcoming glass of Champagne, a copy of the Air France in-flight magazine gets me into a “Parisian” mood. The magazine consists of Paris spring fashion trends, locations of the best restaurants as well as comments on what is going on in the art scene. This in-flight mag is a fashionista’sdream come true; lots of French-styled shoes, dresses, purses…. In between sips of Deutz Brut Classic, I’m handed a dinner menu by one of the coiffed, well-mannered staff. I am pleased see that that the flight attendants speak both French and English without hesitation.

The wine offerings are superior. What a nice surprise to see more space on the dining menu devoted to the wine list than to the food. There is also a note on the menu that the wines have been chosen by Olivier Poussier, World’s Best Sommelier in 2000. This is an added bonus. The attendants place white linen table cloths on our tables, immediately followed by fresh and delicious baguettes with creamy butter. I choose Saint-Veran Chateau de Fuisse 06 a niceBurgundy, to pair with the seafood hors d’oeuvre of marinated shrimp served with miso and ginger sauce and serving of soba noodles.

The main course of grilled tournedos of beef with scallion butter, potatoes au grain, broccoli and tomato truly melts in my mouth, particularly paired with a glass of Clos Triguedina Cuvee Prince Probus 05. This is another perfect match and an excellent choice with meat and game-nice intensity and refinement.

Fine chinasilver and an impressive wine list coupled with first class service, make me feel like I am in an exclusive restaurant, not on an airplane. I skip coffee and chocolate torte, and decide to get a few hours of sleep. I found sleeping a delightful restful experience due to the tilted seats that turn into a perfect horizontal position and pillows and quilts are quite abundant. Within a few hours I awaken to the smell of fresh coffee brewing…Y E S I’m almost in Paris.The French-style breakfast consisted of juice, yogurt, fresh fruits with pastries and lots of coffee – so perfect!

My Air France Business Class experience has truly proven to be crossing the ocean in style!

Liz Palmer

Summer Wine Temperatures With Tips & Suggestions

We are in the depths of summer – the sweltering heat and heavy air does something to our palates.  During these months we tend to crave a colder, lighter, more refreshing high-acid white or rosé than the full-bodied red.  I set out below an ideal wine-serving temperature chart, along with some suggestions and tips on temperature control:

Champagne &
Sparkling Wines

42-52 °F or  6-11 °C
Rosés 45-55 °F or 7-13 °C

Whites 45-50 °F or 7-10 °C

Tips:

When cooling wine in a bucket use both ice and water this will cool the wine faster.

If you serve wine too cold it will lose its flavour.

Reds 50-65 °F or 10-18 °C

Tips:

Keep all wines out of the sun, off the patio, off the boat deck and in a cool place inside especially reds. If you pour a big glass of red outside in the heat, chances are you’ll be drinking tepid wine by the time you get to the bottom of the glass and the wine will loose its aromas and flavours.

Keeping red wine at a good drinking temperature during the summer months is a balancing act – If it’s too cold, it will lose its flavour; If it’s too warm, it will taste rough and the alcohol will show through.

You might want to chill some light reds down a bit in the fridge to 15° C to 18° C – the bottle should be cool to the touch.

Note:

Beaujolais and other light reds are not harmed by this – It is common in the south of France during the summer months to put a bottle of light red in the fridge for half-an-hour before serving.

Do not get too obsessive about serving temperatures – just be sure you can taste the fruit in the whites and rosés, and the reds taste cool, not warm in your mouth.


by Liz Palmer
Apprentissage Sommelier


Summer Wine and Cheese Pairings

Wine and Cheese are a classic combination – both are products of fermentation. Both may be consumed fresh and young, or in their more abstruse forms when they have aged and matured.  Here are basic pairing guidelines that have been proven favorable:

1. Pair wine and cheese of the same region together, i.e., Chianti with Parmesan;
2. Pair salty cheese with sweet wines – a good pairing is Stilton with Port;
3. Pair creamy, soft-ripening cheeses with full-bodied, tannic red wines such as Red Bordeaux with Brie;
4 Pair acid with acid – this may not be obvious, but acids in food usually cancel out acids in wine. A famous pairing is Sauvignon Blanc with goat cheese;
5 My Favorite: Pairing rich cheese with Champagne  or sparkling wines, such as French port de salut or chevre;
6 When offering several cheese choices, whites fair better than reds. Particularly soft and creamy cheeses leave a layer of fat on the palate and this interferes with the flavor in reds, rendering them monotonical;
7. Most of the sweeter whites complement a full range of cheeses. The spicy zing of Gewürztraminer or the peachy zip of Riesling is ideal if you’re going for wide-reaching appeal;

8. Parmigianino or Romano cheeses pair well with most wines; and
9. If you’re a cheese adventurist and you like to eat the stinkiest of cheeses, indulge in a big red like a Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Liz Palmer
Food and Wine Writer
June 23, 2009

In Memory of  Ken