March 12: Most airlines give a rather shabby treatment when it comes to wine, with most ordinary wines generally served in plastic bottles and with not many options, but Air Dolomiti, the regional subsidiary of Lufthansa, serves Italian wine culture during short flights from Frankfurt/Munich to cities in Italy as Subhash Arora discovered during a flight from Florence to Frankfurt, where they served 3 wines- all of good quality and were available in plenty for the passengers in the 128-seat aircraft which was neat, clean with lively colour and punctual with very courteous service
Flight to Frankfurt by Air Dolomiti after I cutting short my visit to Tuscany to reach Frankfurt for judging at Mundusvini- the International Wine Competition where I have been judging consecutively for 17 sessions, was surprisingly empty (Corona Virus was then unheard of in Italy). Barring the front couple of rows which are business class, the rest of the cabin is Economy. I had booked for a comfortable seat in Row 10 but was shocked when they told me to sit in the last row 32 –to balance the aircraft. I know I am slightly overweight but did not know that it would be of use to an airline!
In any case, the last seat was as comfortable and reclined too. One advantage was that the air hostess was nearby and I could request extra panini (Italian sandwiches) and the wine service was extra attentive and wines were unbelievably good.
Wines in the Sky
Three wines were on offer in proper tasting glasses with a small base and niche to hold the glass and swirl. It was served from the regular 750 mL bottle by the flyer-friendly air-hostess who I had to restrain from being generous with the pour since I intended to taste all 3 wines and match with 2 different types of sandwiches-cheese and cheese and ham.
First wine was Bisol Prosecco DOCG Dry. Bisol is one of the oldest and premium wineries near Valdobbiadene owned earlier by Bisol family but 50% share was bought by the Lunelli family who make Ferrari Trentino DOC sparkling wines using Traditional Method. Delicious aperitif with acidity balanced by slightly higher sugar making it more convivial at a height of 35,000 feet. And an excellent match with the cheese sandwich. Incidentally, Bisol is a docg wine, unlike the 500 million bottles of doc produced and the premium Prosecco is well accepted globally supplied all over the world.
Marchesi Antinori Tenuta Monteloro 2018
Antinori is a well-known producer in Tuscany, The Tenuta Monteloro, in the Fiesole hills, a beautiful suburb of Florence, where Villa Antinori, the historic winery of the family produces wines of quality is located. This vintage of Pinot Bianco is an expression of the Tuscan which is also suitable for white grapes.
Villa Antinori Pinot Bianco was straw yellow coloured wine with green reflections. The bouquet was fine and elegant with tropical fruit notes like pineapple and even a shade of mango, and flowers. On the palate it was full, persistent and had a good mineral structure. A n easy drinking wine that was a perfect match for the cheese sandwich and also delicious on its own.
Casisano Rosso di Montalcino 2015
Complementing the Prosecco bubbly and the white wine was the succulent red wine-Casisano Rosso di Montalcino 2015 from Tomassi, a reputed producer of Valpolicella, who has an estate also in Montalcino. Although they produce Brunello, the wine to be served young and casually for discerning drinkers in the aircraft would be Rosso di Montalcino. And this was being served in Economy class which had capacity of over 95% passengers in the 128 seater plane (almost like our Go Air but with much more cheerful and vibrant looks).
Casisano Rosso di Montalcino was a classic Rosso – made from the same grapes as used for Brunello but younger vineyards and with lesser yield perhaps. The lively and elegant, Casisano Rosso had well-rounded medium body, with soft and velvety tannins and reflected the unique terroir of Montalcino. It was a perfect match with the ham and cheese sandwich.
Glasses were small but real glass you could hold comfortably. Bottles were also glass and not plastic you normally see on airlines like. All three were served at right temp. Special thanks to the air hostess Eleonora Zamboni who was very friendly and cheerful and seemed to be passionate about her job.
On my flight by Air India from Frankfurt to Delhi only two wines were being served-Sula Mosaic 2019 and Sula Cabernet Shiraz 2019 in 187 ML bottles-fortunately the bottles were glass bottles; glass was the usual plastic drinking water glass. This is what I mean when i talk of wine as a culture in India in a slightly mooted way. Wines from Air Dolomiti covered the other end of the spectrum.
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