Emirates uncorks it’s finest wines from the cellar, launching the Emirates Vintage Collection

Emirates, Inflight Meals and Drinks
ate Posted: 21/05/2018

Emirates has launched a new vintage collection of fine wines, appropriately named the Emirates Vintage Collection. This exquisite collection features four distinctly unique wines that have been stored in Emirates’ exclusive cellar in Burgundy, France.

The four wines that have been selected to come out of the cellar are:

Château Cheval Blanc, 2004.
Château Haut Brion, 2004.
Château Margaux, 1998.
Château Mouton Rothschild, 2001.

Emirates does advise all its customers that due to the limited availability, these exclusive wines will only be served in the First Class cabin on selected routes for a limited period of time.

Every year since 2006, Emirates has been purchasing wines for long term storage with many being purchased ‘en Primeur’ (newly produced and made available.) or when they were still in the barrel. The Emirates Vintage Collection represents some of the most distinguished wines, a rare selection that is extremely difficult to source. The airlines has managed to acquire large parcels, thanks to its one of a kind approach to how they purchase these wines.

Joost Heymeijer, Senior Vice President, Inflight Catering, Emirates said “We went direct to the winemakers, handpicked these vintages and then cellared them for up to 15 years in Burgundy before we decided they were ready to be served. 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.”

Customers lucky enough to be travelling on flight EK75 from Dubai (DXB) to Paris (CDG) were given a surprise wine masterclass at 40,000ft at the iconic Emirates A380-800 on board lounge on the upper deck of the superjumbo. These customers were the first to try the newly offered Château Cheval Blanc, 2004 and were all proud to be a part of the Emirates Vintage Collection launch. The masterclass was hosted by Arnaud de Laforcade, the Commercial Director of the estate. The special tasting gave customers the chance to savour the Château Cheval Blanc, 2004 and 2006.

Passengers on board Flight EK75 Dubai to Paris, enjoying the masterclass
(Video courtesy of Emirates)

“Every effort was taken to present the wines from the Emirates Vintage Collection in the best possible way. 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 on board, it’s no different than the best restaurant in the world’s top cities.” Mr. Heymeijer added.

Paired with each wine and its own unique flavours are some specially created dishes. The airlines culinary team worked with its inhouse sommeliers to develop dishes that would compoliment those wines on offer and the fine dining on board. Along with each flight that Emirates operates they provide a regionally focused menu, for example flight EK161 Dubai (DXB) to Dublin (DUB), the Château Cheval Blanc, 2004 is served on board these flights and is paired with premium Irish grass-fed beef fillet, accompanied with a potato dauphinoise, creamed leek and spinach, baby carrots with a shallot jus. With the same wine also featured on flights to Geneva, EK89 Dubai (DXB) to Geneva GVA)  the wine is paired with seared venison, accompanied with a thyme jus, blanched kohlrabi, baby carrots and broccolini.

Each of these wines with be transitioned throughout the year on various routes in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australasia regions. The selection is a testiment to Emirates’continued investment in Bordeaux wines, a staple on its wines list.

First additions to the Emirates Vintage Collection (Image: Emirates)

Last year in 2017, Emirates purchases over USD $56 million (AUD $74 million) worth of wines and champagnes from France, and since 2006, the airlines has invested USD $750 million (AUD $998 million) – that’s just under one billion Australian Dollars! in wine from around the world, to give its customers an unmatched experience on board. Over 80 fine wines and champagnes are served across its network daily.

Over the coming years, more additions will be made to the Emirates Vintage Collection once they have reached the perfect level of maturity. Currently in the exclusive Emirates cellar in Burgundy, France there are over 4.7 million bottles of wine. Some of which will only be serves in 2027, so hang tight!

This announcement follows on from the previous article with Emirates announcing they are refreshing the Spirits menu on board.

[READ MORE] Emirates mixes the drinks… Shaken or Stirred?

A more detailed breakdown of each one of these exclusive wines is outlined below, and the routes that they will be featured 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 Haut Brion, 2004.
Currently Served on flights to the America’s 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 Margaux, 1998.
Currently Served 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.

Château Mouton Rothschild, 2001.
Currently Served on flights to Germany and Austria from June.
Scheduled 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 and justifiably so, as it surely ranks as one of the best wines, not just of Bordeaux, but in the world!

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.

The Emirates Vintage Collection (Image: Emirates)

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