Recently I was asked to take part in a judging event for the travel website Skyscanner. I like Skyscanner and use them often so I was pleased to be asked to join in on the judging panel.
The event was held in Edinburgh and hosted by wine writer Tom Cannavan. So, one sunny(!) Autumn day recently I found myself in the shadow of the Edinburgh Castle going through a blind tasting of 10 white wines put forward by various European airlines. From the big boys, such as British Airways to the regional airlines, like EasyJet and Pegasus, there was, what I thought, a good representation of the airlines that most people use for their holiday destinations.
Now, I don’t know about you, but when I’m on a plane I usually don’t put much thought into the wine selection, especially when travelling economy, which is pretty much all the time. All of my wine-tasting training and years of experience go out the window and I usually opt for red no matter what I’m eating.
Well, after this tasting, I might just switch to white wines. I have to say, after tasting these wines, blind, there were only 2 that were representative of what I thought airline wine tasted like, that is – acidic and tasteless. The rest all showed lots of character and I might have even purchased them on the ground. While they do say that wine tastes different at 35,000 feet, most of the wines had full fruit profiles with not too much acidity.
After much consideration and tasting and retasting, the winner of the blind taste test turned out to be a German Riesling! The Peter & Peter 2011 Riesling served in the economy class of German carrier, Lufthansa. Tasting the wine, it had plenty of fruit up on the front of the palate, slightly off-dry but with good acidity, not too much though, along with a pleasing weight to it. All the other judges and I immediately liked this wine on first tasting it so it wasn’t a great surprise when it was announced the winner. The big surprise was that it was a Riesling!
I have to say, I was quite pleased to see a Riesling win in a blind taste test. The best part is, this wine is available on the ground, well, online at any rate, from Tesco Wine by the Case. £30.00 per case.