Despite savaging the Cellars in the Sky awards below, I obviously wasn’t going to let it pass by without getting a piece of the action. And fortunately for a serious-minded technical journalist like me, a golden opportunity arose when Boeing and American Airlines hosted events of astonishing synergy in London this week. The synergy being focused on wine.First Boeing used the annual Business Travel Show to give an update on the 787. Precious little to update it turns out, Boeing managers presumably having been warned against detailed discussion of the programme on pain of elinguation.
But it did provide a reminder that a key selling point of the aircraft is its claim of an improved cabin environment – notably increased humidity (15% versus typical 5%) and reduced cabin altitude (6,000ft versus typical 8,000ft).
Then I was guest of American at a thoroughly enjoyable soiree to celebrate their winning Best Business Class Cellar, and one of the categories at Cellars in the Sky. Most interestingly, American’s wine consultant – the formidably knowledgeable and charming Diane Teitelbaum – was in town to guide us through some of the cellar in question.
Diane points out what many of you will have noticed, that the wine experience is powerfully affected by the cabin air quality – mainly its dryness it seems. It tends to exaggerate the stronger elements of the nose and flavour, and lose more subtle effects. Which is in part why airlines hire people like Diane.
On the 787 I suppose the experience will be different again and no doubt fodder for many learned articles.
Regarding the American cellar, here are Unusual Attitude’s first (and probably only) wine tips: 2004 Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay has a tropical quality with lots of pear that will make you smile. And from among what we wine folk call the ‘reds’ you should try the 2005 The Colonial Estate Shiraz. A crashing wave of blackcurrants with a spicy finish – just wonderful. (Actually always go for shiraz/syrah in-flight, no seriously.)
OK Diane, I’ll leave it to you now.