Korean Air has showcased its selection of new inflight wines, which will be served onboard from March 2023.
The airline presented 50 newly-selected inflight wines, including 19 First Class, 21 Prestige Class, and 10 Economy Class selections at the Seoul Four Seasons Hotel on October 13.
More than 100 people attended the event, including Kenneth Chang, Korean Air Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, airline employees and members of the media.
Among the 50 selected wines, attendees tasted three types of wine – champagne, red and white wine.
Chang said, “As the inflight wine selection strongly impacts the customers’ first impression of the airline’s service levels, we gave careful deliberation to each stage of the selection process.”
Korean Air’s new inflight wine selected by world’s best sommelier’s blind tasting
Korean Air has collaborated with Marc Almert, who carries the accolade of “World’s Best Sommelier 2019,” as awarded by the International Sommelier Association.
The airline also referred to wine data collected last year and created a longlist of 900 wines in a variety of categories.
Korean Air along with Marc Almut then whittled down the list to a shortlist of 150 wines of various grape varieties, vintages and regions, including France, Spain, USA and Australia.
The two wine experts, Marc Almut and Sang Jun Lee, then tasted and evaluated each wine on October 11 and 12 at the Grand Hyatt Incheon Hotel.
After the long process, the airline was finally able to showcase 50 wines, which will be served on board.
One of the new wines selected for First Class is an Australian Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz, a concentrated wine produced from 100% Shiraz grapes with the aroma of rich pepper, mint and eucalyptus.
The strong flavor, unique to Shiraz, makes for a luxurious balance, harmonizing well with the first-class inflight meal options, such as steak and Korean cuisine.
A new champagne for First Class has been selected, Henri Giraud Ay Grand Cru Brut MV, featuring silky softness and rich bubbles.
MV stands for Multi Vintage, which means using grapes harvested from multiple years.
Among the high-quality wines selected for Prestige Class was the La Perriere Megalithe Sancerre, a white wine from the Loire Valley.
The wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, harvested by hand, with half of them aged in oak barrels for more than six months.
The wine features the unique fresh acidity of Sauvignon Blanc, soft and subtle with the aftertaste of oak-aged wine.
Additionally, completely new to inflight service is Nik Weis Urban Riesling, produced in Moselle, Germany, which will be served in Korean Air’s economy class.
It was evaluated that the Riesling’s refreshing scent and mild flavor would harmonize well with inflight meals.
Collaboration with world’s top sommeliers
Marc Almert, who participated in the wine selection, is known as one of the world’s best sommeliers, and is from Cologne, Germany.
In 2019, at the age of 27, he won the title of the youngest champion at the “World Best Sommelier Competition” organized by the International Sommelier Association.
He is currently pursuing his career as the chief sommelier at Baur au Lac, a luxury hotel in Zurich, Switzerland.
Sang Jun Lee, who also participated in the wine selection, is a sommelier at KAL Hotel Network. His experience includes overseeing the wine selection at the Incheon 2014 Asian Games.
When considering the choices for new inflight wines, the sommeliers considered the cabin environment during the flight and the pairing of the wines with inflight meals.
Marc Almert said, “It was a huge task selecting the wines from so many fine options on the long list.
“The cabin pressure and a drier environment can distort the taste of some wines and we took this into consideration and chose fruity and aromatic wines that can perfectly compliment the inflight cuisine.”