Judging Wine At 40,000 Feet
Desired altitudes for commercial flights range from 35,000 feet to 42,000 feet.
What happens to your palate when you drink wine at those altitudes?
To relieve the stress of how you will perceive the wines taste, TAP airlines has a crew of ten wine experts who take all of the misguidance into account when sampling Portuguese wines to establish those few that will make the cut for your tasting pleasure onboard.
As a member of the TAP blind wine tasting team, made up of Portuguese and Brazilian wine experts, the sampling of the wines was tedious.
In a matter of three days, our team sampled over six hundred wines-all Portuguese-on the ground. The top scoring fifty vote getters, twenty-five (25) white and twenty-five (25) red were then sampled in the air, on a six hour flight, to and from Lisbon to Prague.
Each was judged and given a score. wine a score. These wines were the final cut.
There a few lessons to be learned when tasting wine at altitudes close to 40,000 feet.
First, hydrate yourself when drinking wine. A simple rule is one glass of water for each glass of wine that you drink. Yes, dehydration coupled with alcohol is avoidable.
Two, avoid tannins. Tannins tend to become over-exaggerated in the air.
Three, wines with concentrated fruit and’ New World’ ripeness tend to be the ‘go to’ airline wines.
Four, bottle-aged reds that are tannin free work well.
Five, sparkling wine, only made in the traditional methode champenoise style fare well.
Six, let your red wine rest a few minutes, to warm up, before sampling.
Seven, always remember that the dryness of the air aboard an airliner and the low pressure in the airplane cabin combine to disrupt your taste buds that focus on salt and sweetness, but, don’t affect spicy, bitter or sour tastes.
Eight, wine doesn’t change flavors at high altitudes, our palate changes due to the re-cycling of the cabin air.
All in all, TAP Airlines puts in a lot of due diligence before selecting wines for your transatlantic flights.
Visit www.TAP.com to learn more.
Philip S. Kampe