Emirates has an impressive wine offering on their flights, including exclusive South African wines. (Photo: Gabi Zietsman)
Who knew that Emirates was such wine connoisseurs?
I always knew they had an impressive wine range on offer for their Business and First Class passengers, but what you don't know is how exclusive their range can be - and this includes South African wines! The airline is dedicated to crafting a sneak taste of the passengers' destinations, providing wine and food unique to the region they're flying to. They have 200 wines and 80 different champagnes, wines and ports to choose from, paired with local cuisine.
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They showed off their SA fair at 12 Apostles in Cape Town with a wine and food pairing that is the same as up in the air. Their local range includes Ken Forrester, Porseleinberg, Klein Constantia, Waterkloof and Boekenhoutskloof, just to name a few.
Emirates has invested around $7 million (around R100 million at R14,48/$) into SA wines, with the airline's senior beverage adviser at the helm Stephen Towler. Alongside a team of highly skilled wine experts as well as the president of the airline Tim Clark, they purchase exceptional wine while it's still in the barrel years before it hits the general market, and then let them mature in their own private cellar before seeing the skies.
“We are very proud of how our
relationships with South African wineries have developed. South Africa has
evolved dramatically as a quality wine producer offering many outstanding wines
that we are delighted to put before our customers across the globe. We will
continue to work hard in sourcing the finest South African wines to be enjoyed
onboard," says Towler.
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We were treated to three of their select SA wines heading into service, alongside a French champagne and a Bordeaux wine, paired with delectable courses designed to work in partnership with the flavours of the wine. The pairing was ended off with the classic Amarula cream liqueur, which was launched exclusively on all Emirates flights earlier this year.
Please note that I had the vegetarian menu.
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Dom Perignon 2009
Nothing like being welcomed with real French champagne - in the sky those bubbles will be extra potent!
Paired with chunky herb tomato salad with marinated chickpeas.
Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc 2015
This crisp white hails from high up in the Helderberg Mountains in the Stellenbosch wine region from a winemaker known as Mr Chenin.
Paired with potato and spinach curry with seaweed butter and spiced tadka.
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Porseleinberg Syrah 2015
Towler has a long friendship with the winemaker of Porseleinberg in the Swartland wine region, and its Syrah proves that the best wine can come from the most extreme conditions.
Paired with warm beetroot terrine.
Chateau Cheval Blanc 2004
According to Towler, the most popular type of wine on Emirates flights are Bordeaux, which hails from France's most famous wine region. It's quite different from our SA wines, but still quite enamouring.
Paired with charcoal grilled cauliflower steak with roast butternut and shiitake mushrooms.
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Klein Constantia Vin De Constance 2014
The best one of the evening, this dessert wine from Cape Town will make you feel like your supping on the gods' ambrosia, and you'll definitely be asking for more of its sweet sustenance.
Paired with citrus and vanilla namelaka with malva vanilla sponge.
If ever you find yourself flying on Emirates and want to learn more about how they prepare their food and where their wine comes from, you can also join them behind-the-scenes on their in-flight food and wine channels.
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