OK, I know this is going to sound pretentious. But, wine tasting at 39,000 feet really is the best. You see, on a recent Taipei-to-Vancouver flight on Air Canada’s new Dreamliner 787-9, my wife and I were fortuitously upgraded to business class.
Besides flying in your own pod with a seat that folds down into a completely lie-flat bed for incredible shut eye, one of the other perks of travelling in the front cabin is your choice of seven wines. Air Canada’s new sommelier, Veronique Rivest, put the list together and refreshes it every few months. Rivest is the owner of Soif wine bar in Gatineau, Quebec, just across the Ottawa River from the Parliment Buildings.
By the way, soif is the French word for thirst. Rivest is the two time winner of Canada’s Best Sommelier contest, has been crowned Best Sommelier of the Americas and came in second at the World’s Best Sommelier competition. Since the winner was a man, she the planet’s top woman somm.
Unfortunately, Rivest didn’t pick an Okanagan wine for the current line up, but she could in the future. Thus said, my wife and I did manage to sip our way through the entire list.
Champagne Drappier from France was a very apropos welcome drink.
The Jurtschitsch Gruner Veltliner from Austria went nicely with the tuna appetizer and cherry- tomato-and-artichoke salad. The elegantly-plated pan-fried sea bass was paired with Vineland Estates Select white from Niagara.
Running out of food courses to match wines, we took the cheese plate with a flight of reds – Vini Be Good Pinot Noir from France, Volpaia Citto from Tuscany, Italy and Masroig Rojalet Seleccio from Spain, and a port, Dow’s, from, of course, Portugal.
In the economy cabin on the outward Vancouver-to-Taipei we still had wine with our chicken-in-foil-container meal. But, there were only two choices, a serviceable red or white in one of those little plastic bottles. Both are Paul Mas Les Tannes blends from France, the white a sauvignon blanc-grenache blanc-colombard and the red a carighan-merlot-syrah.