One day I’ll show you my craziness… Well this day is today ! I decided to settle down a little experiment. Perhaps you heard about altitude and wine ? Well, on a plane our senses are disturbed : this is why the food is saltier than on the earth for example. Moreover, we are not helped by the famous “white noise” which, according to studies, is responsible for the meal’s bad taste. The white noise is a alternation of sounds at various frequencies and it reduces our ability to recognize the salt and sugar in foods ! The engines create this white noise.
But about wine ? This is my little experience on a LA to Paris flight : lets discover the differences between wines tasted up in the air and the same wines tasted the feet on the ground ! Are the tasting comments the same ?
“An airplane symbolizes freedom, joy and the possibility of understanding. These symbols are forever“
Olivier Poussier is the world’s best sommelier in 2000 and is in charge of the Air France winery. He chose the selection of wines below in addition to the Champagne Veuve A. Devaux Cuvée D. Olivier’s adage is “Small is beautiful”. So that’s why he chose small vineyards with great merit.
In the air & on the ground :
– Saint-Véran, Joseph Drouhin, White Burgundy 2011 (100% Chardonnay)
Up in the air : Nice straw color with a medium, clear and bright intensity. The first nose is buttery and lemony. But the flavory molecules are struggling to extract and it’s thanks to the second nose that the aromas are truly able to express themselves. So after swirling wine, lemon accompanied by fresh and slightly wood appear. The mouth remains fresh too and woody but it’s not set properly I found. Lemon mingles with white flowers as well as apricot and peach. Evolution is sweet and the finish is even more candied citrus wich explains the slight bitter aftertaste. Yet the balance of flavors seems rushed : increased acidity, sweetness during the development, bitter aftertaste… Moreover, I found the presence of an unpleasant tasting at the end : vinous alcohol.
The feet on the ground : Nice straw color of medium intensity with green reflects. The wine is bright and shiny. The first nose is intense with aromas of fruits and toast. With the second nose I detect lemon, butter and pleasant feeling of fresh green grass. The mouth is fresh always with a sense of delicacy and greediness. Apricot takes over with other stone fruits. The finish is pleasant with a slight bitterness, the whole wine is round and nice.
– Fleurie La Réserve Villa Ponciago, Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaujolais 2010 (100% Gamay)
Up in the air : With a pink purple dress, we can recognize a clear and bright Beaujolais. The nose is fruity, light and I feel cherry, strawberry and flowers like peony. The second nose confirms the first one with fruits, intensity and delicacy even if it seems straight. But the mouth is a disappointment : aqueous, empty and even bitter. Finally the tasting ends beautifully with a finish on blackberry. The finish saved the mouth !
The feet on the ground : The color of this wine is purple. The fruity first nose is intense with aromas of strawberry, cherry and some grapes. Viva the Beaujolais ! The second nose is still fruity with sweetness that fills the nose. Black fruits appear as blueberry and blackberry. The palate is silky with an impression of highlighted lightness. There is a very flexible structure with tannins. The finish is relatively short but fruity.
– Château Haut Condissas, Jean Guyon, Médoc 2007 (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon)
Up in the air : Nice dark ruby with cherry highlights, this is bright and clear. The color seems to be a beautiful promise. The first nose is aromatic and is shared between the fruit (like blackberry) and grilled meat. The second nose is more complex : woody, smoky, even roasted… There is a Brett side (animal) I find interesting because it’s well integrated. The palate is fresh, slightly bitter with notes of leather and blackberry. There is a nice mix between smoky, woody and roasted. A little astringent tasting ends on whiskylactone, vanilla and blackberry. This is a classic Medoc, with pleasant wood which sadly seems to take precedence over the fruit.
The feet on the ground : The color is a dark and intense ruby. The first nose is fruity with notes of black fruits. The second nose brings relief with the complexity of the fruits (blackberry, blackcurrant and blueberry) but also wood (cedar) and a nice impression of roasting (mocha and chocolate). The palate is intense with powerful wood note which provides soft and silky tannins. The palate is velvet, there is a good balance. This is a very nice wine with a long finish of coffee.
Following this comparative tasting, I feel that the bitterness has got a place of choice ‘Up in the air’ ! The wines seem to lost their balance. Sugar and salt are less present also : the taste sensation decreases with altitude so maybe it’s the reason of this accentuation of bitterness. The wines have not reached all their aromatic power and it’s quite sad. Then I must recall that the Champagne remains the honor wines of our airlines ! Indeed a lower atmospheric pressure makes it finer and the sensation of bubbles is accentuated. Champagne becomes better. So lets take your cup of Champagne up in the air !
To find reviews of the meal trays that you can ‘ taste ‘ on board here is a very useful site : www.airlinemeals.net