The 2018 Cellars in the Sky Awards

The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky 2018 Awards, which recognize the best business and first-class wines served by airlines worldwide for 2018, were presented on Monday, February 18 at The Langham, London, by Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

Qantas was the evening’s biggest winner, taking the coveted Gold Medal for Best Overall Cellar, as well as the top spots in the Best First-Class White, Best First Class Sparkling (jointly with Air France and Cathay Pacific), Best First-Class Cellar, Best-Presented First-Class Wine List, and Best Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine categories.

Cathay Pacific won two Gold Medals for Best First Class Sparkling (jointly with Air France and Qantas) and Best Business Class Red, while Malaysia Airlines took the top spot in the Best First-Class Red category, ANA won the award for Best First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine, and Qatar Airways took the top spot in the Best Business Class Sparkling category.
Oneworld was named Best Airline Alliance, while one of its member carriers British Airways took the Gold Medal for Best Business Class Cellar.

And a special note to US low-cost carrier Jetblue, which won a Gold Medal in the Cellars in the Sky competition for the first time, taking the top spot in the Best Business Class White category.

Business Traveller contacted airlines in summer 2018, and 33 entered.
Blind tastings of 240 bottles took place at London’s Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria, in December, with the four judges independently scoring the wines over the course of two days.

Participating airlines were: Aegean, Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Aircalin, Air Canada, Air France, Air Italy, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, American Airlines, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Dragon, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, EVA Air, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Iberia, Icelandair, Japan Airlines, Jet Blue, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, and Virgin Atlantic.

LIST OF WINNERS AND SHORTLISTED AIRLINES

FIRST CLASS
BEST FIRST-CLASS RED

• Gold Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune 2015, Burgundy, France

• Silver Medal: American Airlines – Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2016, Sonoma County, US

• Bronze Medal (joint): ANA – Château Léoville Barton 2012, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France; Qatar Airways – Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2009, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France

BEST FIRST-CLASS WHITE

• Gold Medal: Qantas – Penfolds Reserve Bin 15A Chardonnay 2015, Adelaide Hills, Australia

• Silver Medal: Qantas – Flametree SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2016, Margaret River, Australia

• Bronze Medal (joint): Cathay Dragon – Lamblin and Fils Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes, 2016, France; Malaysia Airlines – Palliser Estate Chardonnay 2016, Martinborough, New Zealand

BEST FIRST-CLASS SPARKLING

• Gold Medal (joint): Air France, Cathay Pacific, Qantas –Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006, Franc

• Silver Medal (joint): ANA, Qatar Airways – Champagne Krug 2004, France; Singapore Airlines – Dom Pérignon 2006, Champagne, France

• Bronze Medal: Oman Air –Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal, Brut, 2009, France

BEST FIRST-CLASS FORTIFIED/DESSERT WINE

• Gold Medal: ANA – Barbeito Madeira Malvasia 20 year old, Portugal

• Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific – Warre’s Otima Single Year Tawny Colheita Port 2006, Portugal

• Bronze Medal: Qantas – Morris of Rutherglen Wines Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat, Australia

BEST-PRESENTED FIRST-CLASS WINE LIST

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Highly Commended: ANA

BEST FIRST-CLASS CELLAR

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Silver Medal: ANA
• Bronze Medal: Cathay Pacific

BUSINESS CLASS
BEST BUSINESS CLASS RED

• Gold Medal: Cathay Pacific – Elderton Shiraz 2015, Barossa Valley, Australia

• Silver Medal: Air New Zealand – Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014, Central Otago, New Zealand

• Bronze Medal: Air Italy – Olianas Perdixi 2016, Gergei, Sardinia, Italy

BEST BUSINESS CLASS WHITE

• Gold Medal: Jetblue – Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2015, California, US

• Silver Medal: Aer Lingus – De Bortoli La Bohème Act One Riesling, 2016, Yarra Valley, Australia

• Bronze Medal: Oman Air – Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Montagu 2016, France

BEST BUSINESS CLASS SPARKLING

• Gold Medal: Qatar Airways – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 2006, France

• Silver Medal: EVA Air – Delamotte Blanc de Blancs 2007, Champagne, France

• Bronze Medal: Malaysia Airlines – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs 2007, France

BEST BUSINESS CLASS FORTIFIED/ DESSERT WINE

• Gold Medal: Qantas – Baileys of Glenrowan Founder Series Classic Muscat, Victoria, Australia

• Silver Medal: Air New Zealand – Forrest Botrytised Riesling 2016, Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand

• Bronze Medal (joint): Oman Air – Château Guiraud 1er Grand Cru Classé
en 1855, 2014, Sauternes-Barsac, France; Aeroflot – Grahams 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, NV, Porto Duro, Portugal

BEST BUSINESS CLASS CELLAR

• Gold Medal: British Airways
• Silver Medal: Qatar Airways
• Bronze Medal: Jetblue

BEST-PRESENTED BUSINESS CLASS WINE LIST

• Gold Medal: EVA Air

OVERALL AWARDS
BEST AIRLINE ALLIANCE

• Oneworld

BEST OVERALL CELLAR

• Gold Medal: Qantas
• Silver Medal: Cathay Pacific
• Bronze Medal: ANA, Qatar Airways
• Highly Commended: American Airlines

Champagne is served…. A List of Champagnes Served in First + Business Class

first class champagneIf your 2015 travel plans include flights in First Class or Business Class on the following carriers, be sure to ask for that pre-departure flute of these fine pours:

Air France – Serves Taittinger in First Class and Champagne Deutz Brut Classic NV in Business Class

Aer Lingus – serves Jean Pernet Tradition Brut Champagne in Business Class

American Airlines – Champagne Demilly de Baere Carte d’Or Brut is found in First Class International and Gosset Brut is found in Business International 

British Airways – First Class passengers sip Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle, Henriot Vintage Brut 2007, and Balfour Brut Rose. Club World passengers receive pours of Taittinger Brut Reserve

Cathay Pacific – Those upfront get to taste Krug Grand Cuvée and Business Class pours Billecart-Salmon Brut

Delta – Jacquart Brut Mosaïque is served up in Business Elite cabin

Emirates – First Class passengers sip Dom Pérignon and Business Class passengers are poured Moët & Chandon

Eva Air – This Taiwanese airline serves up Dom Pérignon to its Royal Laurel or Business Class passengers

Hainan Airlines – This Chinese airline won awards with their G.H. Mumm Brut NV poured in both First Class and Business Class

Japan Airlines – Serves 2002 Salon in First Class

KLM – Serves Heidsieck & Co Monopole Blue Top

LAN – Premium Business enjoys LAN edition Louis Roederer Brut Premier, and occasionally Henriot Brut Reims

Lufthansa – Krug is served in First Class

Qantas – First Class serves up Taittinger Comtes De Champagne Blanc De Blancs and Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill, while Business Class to sip Billecart-Salmon Brut or Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve

Singapore Airlines – First Class has the option of two labels: Dom Pérignon and Krug Grande Cuvée. Business Class enjoys Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve or Bollinger

Swiss – Serves Duval-Leroy Brut NV in Business Class

United – First Class passengers are served Castelnau Blanc de Blancs and Business First can sip Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve

 

Note: Varies by route or destination

Air France’s La Première Cabin has Caviar and Champagne on its Menu for the Holiday Season

For the Christmas and New Year holiday season Air France will be offering passengers traveling in the La Première cabin some exceptional dishes to make their flight a refined experience. From December to January 2013 on flights departing from Paris, passengers will now be able to enjoy a unique appetizer, an individual ‘egg’ of Cavier Alverta Royal Eggxiting by Petrossian.

La Première passengers will also get to enjoy exclusive gourmet dishes by Jacques Le Divellec, a noted French chef and a member of the Servair Culinary Studio, with two of his own recipes; the fillet of turbot with clams and the seafood medley with shellfish sauce.

Along with caviar and seafood selections, the dessert menu is designed by Lenotre, and Oilvier Poussier has selected wine from various French regions, along with the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000.

The Safest Airlines in the World Revealed

A report released yesterday by Air Transport Rating Agency (ATRA) found that the safest carriers in the world were mainly those based in Europe and the US.

While European and US airlines rarely feature in the top 10 rankings for best customer service, airlines from these regions have dominated a new list of the world’s safest carriers.
Air France-KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa are the safest airlines in Europe.

The safest US-based airlines are AMR Corporation, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways, while the safest from Asia is Japan Airlines.

To obtain this classification, the first of its kind, ATRA examined publicly available information on 15 criteria, such as the average age of the aircraft used or the homogeneity of the fleet.

Each year, the European Union releases list of banned airlines, often considered to be the world’s most dangerous. The latest list, published in April, can be seen at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air-ban/list_en.htm. It includes 37 Kazakh carriers and 43 Indonesian airlines.

World’s 10 safest airlines

Air France-KLM
AMR Corporation (American Airlines, American Eagles)
British Airways
Continental Airlines
Delta Airlines
Japan Airlines
Lufthansa
Southwest Airlines
United Airlines
US Airways

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

I am beginning my ten-day journey to Paris, the Champagne Region of France and Belgium. I am flying “l’Espace Affaires”/Business Class from Toronto to Paris, and looking forward to the “Business Class” travel experience with Air France.

Settling into a large comfortable seat with a welcoming glass of Champagne, a copy of the Air France in-flight magazine immediately 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 magazine is a fashionista’s dream come true; lots of French-styled shoes, dresses, purses…. In between sips of Deutz Brut Classic, I’m handed a dinner menu and wine list by one of the coiffed, well-mannered flight attendant who speaks both French and English.

The wine offerings are superior, and it is refreshing to see a well-constructed wine list that has ample offerings. I notice there is a reference on the menu that the wines have been chosen by Olivier Poussier, the World’s Best Sommelier in 2000 – this is an added bonus. The attendants place a white linen tablecloth on my table, immediately followed by fresh, delicious baguettes with creamy butter. I choose Saint-Veran Chateau de Fuisse 06 a nice easy Burgundy, to pair with my choice of seafood hors d’oeuvre of marinated shrimp, served with miso and ginger sauce, served with 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 china, silver and an impressive wine list coupled with first class service, make me feel like I am in an exclusive international 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 and restful experience. The tilted seats 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, lots of coffee, and Champagne if I want – so perfect!

My “l’Espace Affaires”/Air France Business Class experience has truly proven to be Crossing the Ocean in Style!

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer