We are back home from Shanghai. It has been a few days of silence in the blog due to poor internet connections (I gave up after WordPress crashed on me the tenth time), so now I have a ton of exciting things to catch up on. Today, I thought about continuing with the series of high flying wines (earlier review here) and the service on board Scandinavian Airlines.
We were fortunate enough to have some points in our pockets to score seats in Business class. I have mostly been a frequent traveler in Economy, so the experience itself was already an exciting start for the trip. We also thought that since we are up there, we might as well review the wine selection.
When boarding, we were greeted with a glass of Henriot Brut Champagne 2007. This is an exclusive vintage served only on board SAS flights. The grapes come from the heartlands of Chardonnay, Cotes des Blanc’s. The taste has light acidity and a fresh notes of brioche, yellow apples and honey. The drink was not really served in an optimal glass for Champagne, but come on, I cant really imagine a Riedel lasting very long on board a plane.
With dinner, we had four options for wine: two whites and two reds (or a fifth if you prefer to stay with the champagne). The whites were an Arneis from Roero Italy produced by Marco Porello, a rising star in the region, and the Shearwater Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. Both wines were from 2013. We did as we always do, one took one and the other took the other and we shared. It is not like you can’t have a glass of both, but we just wanted small tasters and throwing away wine is not my thing. The Arneis was not a favorite for either of us: sharp-ish taste with notes of ripe fruit. A powerful Italian indeed but not in the good kind of way. The Sauvignon blanc on the other hand was fresh and lightly floral with notes of lemon and white flowers and green apple peel. There was something there that reminded me of a Riesling. Perfect with some crayfish or a light meaty starter.
The reds came with the main course. As with the whites we sampled both: a La Font du Vent Les Promesses from Cotes du Rhone and a Cluver & Schaal Syrah Reserve from South Africa. You can’t really go wrong with a Cotes du Rhone, a perfect pairing with creamy meat dishes, it was soft with notes of cherries, ripe red fruits (plum) and some hints of chocolate. The Syrah was more dry with very light tannins and a taste of red and black fruits. I also felt that there were some notes of granite which made it a very pleasant wine just on its own (and with Chicken).
All in all, three out of four, or actually four out of five wines, were good on the flight. A well selected menu by SAS (if you don’t count in the Italian disappointment). SAS also has some other interesting drinks on the Menu: some dessert wines, port and beers designed solely for them by Mikkeller a Danish micro-brewery. The selection seemed to alter on the way there and back, but we counted at least three different SAS beers: an American Pale Ale, a Lager and Belgian Weiss with a Danish twist. For non-alcoholic they had a wonderful apple juice from Ringi Farm and tea selection from Damman Freres, and of course your usual suspects for sodas. Service on board SAS Business was of course impeccable – I could get used to it.
After ten and a half hours of flying and at least five hours of sleep, it was a completely different Soile arriving to hot and humid Shanghai than it would have been had my voyage been in Economy. I gues that it what you pay for, the space and the extra service staff. The tickets prices are steep, so I am happy that they have invested that little extra into enjoyable drinks and food. It is not a Michelin-starred experience, but at least one is not left hungry. Unfortunately, we cannot afford it as a usual way of travel, but perhaps after some more flying, we can arrange another long-haul getaway with our points.