Being greeted at the door with a glass of my choice of Dom Perignon or Krug is exactly how I wanted to start my afternoon with Singapore Airlines! ‘Just part of the First Class service, it is lovely to meet you’….. ‘ahh!’, said I, trying to decide. So you tell me, what would you choose?
I wish that I was, in fact, about to fly off to a destination far away but at least I can settle for a tutorial over a luxurious lunch with the Singapore Airlines team, complete with one of their wine experts, Michael Hill-Smith MW. The Singapore Airlines wine panel is also first class with not only Hill-Smith but also Steven Spurrier and Jeannie Cho Lee MW and the wine list in all cabin levels is chosen by this team.
In the battle for the business class traveller, Singapore Airlines takes food and wine very seriously indeed. After the seat width, food and wine is a battle ground for supremacy with the winner getting happy people sitting on said seat. And with a portion of the market choosing their airline on the basis of the Champagne served, Hill-Smith feels he would be disappointed if they did not offer the choice of two.
The philosophy behind choosing the wines for the lists follows along the line of ‘best of the old world and best of the new’. They ensure that there is a selection of interesting wines from around France, Italy and Germany as well as Australia, New Zealand and the US. It is an opportunity to get a snapshot of what is happening in the world of wine at that moment.
Twice a year, the panel meet to taste up to 1,000 bottles in the typical show format – ‘blind’ and scored. While each list has at least two white and two red per cabin, they are often route specific. For instance, you could not get away without an Australian Shiraz en route to London. Therefore there may be 45 different wines being poured around the world on Singapore Airlines at any one time.
While maintaining diversity in the wines on offer is key, Singapore Airlines is the only airline serving nothing but super seconds in their Bordeaux choice. They also have an impressive cellar that allows them to serve mature wines. Perhaps just as impressive is their level of investment in training their Air Sommeliers making sure that they are armed with the knowledge to assist you in your wine choice.
Now to get back to my original dilemma… Krug or Dom Perignon? Here are the tasting notes – I will let you decide for yourself :
Dom Perignon Cuvee 2003: Alive with minerality, ripe citrus and peel with some smoky spice and cream, the aromas of the 2003 are enticing. Compared to previous vintages there is a higher portion of Pinot Noir adding depth and there is an extra dollop of cream on the finish. With a soft mousse on entry, the mineral backbone is fresh and long. A style that can be paired with food as evidenced by how enjoyable it was with the Roast Barramundi with Piedmont hazelnuts, steamed diamond clams and garlic butter because I could not put it down before the arrival of the main course.
Krug Grande Cuvee : Tantalising your nose with nutty brioche, honeyed citrus, baked apple with caramel sauce and offset with a hint of briny oyster shell this is a wine with more depth of character and maturity than most. It is elegantly curved with a graceful acid structure and a length that is incredibly giving. A Champagne that would be as fresh after a night with friends at the theatre as it would before.
If Champagne is not your style, I am sure that you will be able to find something that you will enjoy on the list. What about an impeccably balanced Weinhaus Ress 2010 Riesling or the Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey 2005 that shapes your mouth into a permanent smile?
This article was first published on Sip Your Style in September 2012. Written by Lisa Johnston.
Photos taken by Fiora Sacco & used courtesy of Singapore Airlines.
1 person likes this post.