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Pairing Wine & Flying

Private

Due to altitude and cabin pressure while flying, your sense of smell and taste are greatly reduced. Your sensitivity to sweet and salty flavors is decreased by almost 30%, but sour, bitter and spicy tastes are almost the same. For wine drinkers, this creates a huge impact on your palette and enjoyment of expensive wines.

While this certainly doesn’t mean you should skip having a favorite bottle on board your private flight, you may consider swapping out lighter or sweeter jam or berry notes for crisp apple or spicier notes – the bolder, the better. Delicate wines like Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir could taste bland at altitude. A crisp, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc like Cloudy Bay will still maintain its lime and grapefruit notes well.

For reds, we recommend a warmer climate Syrah from Australia, Napa or Paso Robles. Look for 14%+ alcohol levels for fuller-bodied flavors. One of our favorites is a Stolo Family Vineyards 2014 Estate Syrah. If you prefer spicy notes, a Cabernet Franc will do well. While a Chateau Cheval Blanc is an incredible wine, you may want to opt for a Sheridan Cabernet Franc in flight.

Don’t forget the bubbles!

Effervescent wines are a wonderful choice when flying. The bubbles will enhance the aromatics and you can never go wrong with a great bottle of champagne. Try a Bollinger La Grand Annee Brut Champagne. Be aware that inflight, bubbles will stick to the side of your glass instead of a steady stream of finer bubbles, this will affect the aroma but doesn’t indicate a lesser quality champagne like it would on the ground.

Don’t forget the difference the right wine glass can make. Many private jets have limited space and only store a limited amount of glassware. Request specific glasses from your flight coordinator prior to your flight. Better yet, bring your own to get that extra oomph of flavor and aroma.

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