Korean Air has showcased its selection of new inflight wines, which will be served onboard from March 2023.
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The airline recently presented 50 newly-selected inflight wines, including 19 First Class, 21 Prestige Class, and 10 Economy Class selections at the Seoul Four Seasons Hotel.
According to Kenneth Chang, Korean Air Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, “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 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 list of no less than 900 wines in a variety of categories.
Korean Air along with Marc Almert then whittled down the list to a shortlist of 150 wines of various grape varieties, vintages and regions, including France, Spain, the US and Australia.
The two wine experts, Marc Almert and Sang Jun Lee, then tasted and evaluated each wine to bring the selection down to 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 per cent Shiraz grapes with the aroma of rich pepper, mint and eucalyptus. The strong flavour, 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.
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 flavour would harmonize well with inflight meals.
Mr 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.
Mr 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.”
Korean Air will gradually introduce new onboard wines from March 2023.
In addition to new inflight wines, the airline is also planning significant changes to its inflight cuisine. Some changes have also recently commenced; the airline started serving new Korean cuisine options including braised mackerel and spicy pork lettuce wraps in March this year and bulgogi rice with acorn jelly in cold broth and spicy noodles in July.
The increase in Korean dishes available onboard reflects the growing global awareness of Korean culture and demand for Korean food.