Emirates launched its new vintage wine collection on a flight to Paris with the Château Cheval Blanc 2004 (Photo: Emirates)
Just when you thought Emirates' first class experience couldn't get any more grandiose, they go and up their game again with the Emirates Vintage Collection.
Since 2006, the Dubai airline has been buying up fine wine directly from winemakers, some even still in the barrel, and keeping it in their cellar in Burgundy, France, until it's at just the right maturity to serve to their first class passengers.
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This year four wines have reached their 15-year peak and are now available on certain routes for a limited time. The wines are the Château Cheval Blanc 2004, Château Haut Brion 2004, Château Mouton Rothschild 2001 and Château Margaux 1998.
The first taste of the selection was made on a flight to Paris with the Blanc 2004 and 2006 wine, surprising passengers with a wine masterclass from the commercial director of the estate where the wine was made.
The wines will not only just be served as is to thirsty passengers - each wine has also been paired with a specially-developed meal to accompany the selected wine for that flight that also reflects the region Emirates is flying to.
On flights to and from Dublin for example, the Château Cheval Blanc 2004 will be paired with Irish grass-fed beef fillet served with a potato dauphinoise, creamed leek and spinach, baby carrots and a shallot jus. The same wine will be paired with a seared venison served with a thyme jus, blanched kohlrabi, baby carrots and broccolini on flights to Geneva.
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"It has taken a great deal of patience, investment and long-term planning. Our aim has always been to surprise and delight our customers and they are in for a treat with this selection,” said Joost Heymeijer, Senior Vice President, Inflight Catering, Emirates.
"We spent time training our cabin crew, redesigning our glassware and creating a food pairing menu to ensure that when you savour these great wines onboard, it’s no different than the best restaurant in the world’s top cities.”
So far Emirates has invested $780 million in their wine purchases from around the world and the cellar currently houses 4.7 million bottles of wine waiting to be mature enough before their stint in the skies.
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Watch the first in-flight tasting below:
See below for more information about the different wines and which routes they will be on:
Château Cheval Blanc 2004
Currently served on flights to the UK, Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Geneva.
Cheval Blanc is the leading estate in Saint-Émilion and the most famous Cabernet Franc-based wine in the world. Some vintages from this unique terroir are legendary, such as the 1947 which Robert Parker describes as 'the crown jewel in any millionaire collector's cellar'.
The 2004 has a perfumed nose of cherry, raspberry and rose petals. Medium to full-bodied, the palate shows candied strawberry and redcurrant laced with exotic spice. Firm tannins and succulent acidity provide perfect balance.
Château Margaux 1998
Scheduled on flights to Australasia and select Asian routes from June.
This spectacular château is often called the 'Versailles of the Médoc'. Andre Mentzelopoulos' daughter Corrine took over a vastly enhanced estate from her father in 1980 and following her father's lead, makes improvements with every vintage.
This 1998 has fresh plums, black cherries and spicy blackberries on the nose, with a hint of black tea and smoke. The palate is medium to full-bodied and peppery upon entry, develops with leathery notes, damson plum and the balance, grace and charm that epitomise the wines of this appellation.
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Château Haut Brion 2004
Scheduled on flights to the Americas and the UK from October.
The oldest of the classed growths, and the only first growth outside the Médoc, Haut-Brion boasts an illustrious history with references from Pepys, Jefferson and a mention in the 1660 cellar ledger of English King Charles II. Its current regal credentials are just as impressive, with the management of the property now overseen by Prince Robert of Luxembourg.
The 2004 displays typical Graves aromas of blackcurrant and cigar-box with hints of black olive. The palate is medium-bodied and harmonious, with graphite-tinged black fruit caressed by tender, fine-grained tannins.
Château Mouton Rothschild 2001
Scheduled on flights to Germany and Austria from June and on flights to France, the Netherlands and Geneva from November.
The 1855 classification of Bordeaux’s wines from first to fifth growth status was based on recent market prices for a vineyard's wines, with one exception: Château Mouton Rothschild. Despite Mouton’s market price equalling that of Château Lafite Rothschild, it was excluded from the 1er Cru tier, an act that Baron Philippe de Rothschild referred to as "the monstrous injustice". After decades of intense lobbying by the Baron, in 1973 Mouton was finally elevated to "first growth" status.
The 2001 has a complex and open bouquet with notes of blackberry, forest floor, graphite and hints of orange peel. The palate is medium to full-bodied with fine tannins, superb acidity, great depth and a distinct mineral note to the tobacco toned finish.
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The Emirates Vintage Collection includes Château Cheval Blanc 2004, Château Haut Brion 2004, Château Mouton Rothschild 2001 and Château Margaux 1998. (Photo: Emirates)