Wine at 39,000 feet

Air Canada has a new som­me­lier and a new line up of in­cred­i­ble wines served in flight

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - DESTINATIONS - BY STEVE MACNAULL

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 Taipeito-Van­cou­ver flight on Air Canada’s new Dream­liner 7879, my wife, Kerry, 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, Que., 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 is 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 pan­fried 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 blend and the red a Carig­nan, Mer­lot, Syrah.


Flight at­ten­dant Zdenka Sliz shows off the wines on of­fer in the busi­ness class cabin of Air Canada’s in­ter­na­tional flights.


Air Canada serves good wines in both its busi­ness-class and econ­omy cabins.


Veronique Rivest is Air Canada’s new som­me­lier, choos­ing the wine served in the air­line’s busi­ness-class cabin.

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