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Airlines with the best wines

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

wine in flightHere are the winners of Business Traveller's Cellars in the Sky Awards 2015, which recognise the best business and first class wines served by airlines worldwide were presented at the Hilton London Bankside by Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge.

Singapore Airlines was the evening’s biggest winner, taking the coveted Gold Medal for Best Overall Wine Cellar. It also took the top spot in the Best First Class Cellar and Best Business Class Sparkling categories – the latter prize tied with Philippine Airlines.

Two airlines won two Gold Medals – EVA Air for Best Business Class Cellar and Best Business Class Red, and Jetstar for Best Business Class White and Best Business Class Fortified/Dessert.

Korean Air received the Gold Medal for Best First Class Red and British Airways for Best First Class White. Garuda Indonesia grabbed Best First Class Sparkling, and Qatar Airways Best First Class Fortified/Dessert.

cellars in the sky2015Cathay Pacific won Best Presented First Class Wine List, and El Al Best Presented Business Class Wine List. Oneworld was once again named Best Airline Alliance.

Business Traveller contacted more than 75 airlines in summer 2015, and 35 entered. Blind tastings took place at the Hilton London Metropole in December, with four judges independently scoring the wines. Along with head judge Metcalfe, the judges were: Tim Atkin, Oz Clarke* and Peter McCombie, co-chairmen of the International Wine Challenge.

Participating airlines were: Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Air Astana, Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air France, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, American Airlines, ANA, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Croatia Airlines, Delta Air Lines, El Al, EVA Air, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Jetstar, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, LATAM, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, South African Airways, SAS, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Cellars in the Sky is now in its 30th year, having been running since 1985.

*As Oz Clarke was formerly a wine consultant to SAS, and is part of the wine selection panel of Singapore Airlines, his scores for wines submitted by both carriers were discounted, and these wines were assessed using only other tasters' scores.

BEST FIRST CLASS RED

Gold Medal: Korean Air – Château Clerc Milon 2007, Bordeaux, Pauillac, Médoc, France
Silver Medal: American Airlines – Lavau Châteauneuf du Pape 2011, Rhône Valley, France
Bronze Medal: Malaysia Airlines – E Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde de Guigal 2010, Rhône Valley, France

BEST FIRST CLASS WHITE

Gold Medal: British Airways – Domaine d’Ardhuy Corton Charlemagne 2009, Burgundy, France
Silver Medal: Qantas – Oakridge 864 Chardonnay, Willowlake Vineyard Block A6 2012, Yarra Valley, Australia
Bronze Medal (joint): Garuda Indonesia – Vasse Felix Chardonnay Margaret River 2013, Australia; Qatar Airways – Saint Clair Family Estate Pioneer Block 21 Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Dillons Point, Marlborough, New Zealand

BEST FIRST CLASS SPARKLING

Gold Medal: Garuda Indonesia – Champagne Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart 1999, France
Silver Medal (joint): American Airlines – Champagne Louis Roederer Brut 2008, France; 
Korean Air – Champagne Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2004, France
Bronze Medal: Singapore Airlines – Champagne Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, France 

BEST FIRST CLASS FORTIFIED/DESSERT

Gold Medal: Qatar Airways – Château d’Yquem 2008, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Silver Medal (joint): Singapore Airlines – Taylor’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal; Qantas – Seppeltsfield Paramount Rare Tokay, Rutherglen, Australia
Bronze Medal: Cathay Pacific – Ramos Pinto RP10, 10 Years Old Tawny, Quinta da Ervamoira, Portugal

BEST-PRESENTED FIRST CLASS WINE LIST Cathay Pacific

BEST FIRST CLASS CELLAR

Gold Medal: Singapore Airlines
Silver Medal: Qatar Airways
Bronze Medal: Korean Air
Highly commended: Cathay Pacific, Qantas

BEST BUSINESS CLASS RED

Gold Medal: EVA Air – The Islander Estate Old Rowley 2014, South Australia
Silver Medal: Aer Lingus – Saint-Joseph “Les Challeys” 2013, Delas Frères, Rhône Valley, France
Bronze Medal (joint): Air Astana – Casa Silva Reserva Cuvée Colchagua Carmenere 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile; Air Canada – H J Fabre Malbec 2014 Barrel Selection, Fabre Montmayou, Argentina

BEST BUSINESS CLASS WHITE

Gold Medal: Jetstar – Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Silver Medal: British Airways – Condrieu “Les Ravines” 2013 Domaine Rémi Niero, Rhône Valley, France
Bronze Medal: American Airlines – Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett 2009, SA Prum, Mosel, Germany

BEST BUSINESS CLASS SPARKLING

Gold Medal (joint): Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines – Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve, France
Silver Medal: EVA Air – Champagne de Castelnau Brut 2002, J M Cazes Selection, France
Bronze Medal: Cathay Pacific – Champagne Cuvée William Deutz 2000, France 

BEST BUSINESS CLASS FORTIFIED/DESSERT

Gold Medal: Jetstar – De Bortoli “Old Boys” 21 Year Old Barrel Aged Tawny, NV, Australia
Silver Medal (joint): Korean Air – Inniskillin Ice Wine Vidal 2012, Vincor, Niagara Peninsula, Canada; Austrian Airlines – Weingut Kracher Cuvée Beerenauslese 2012, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee, Austria
Bronze Medal: Singapore Airlines – Taylor’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal

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