So many factors go into Asiana Airlines’ choice of wines served on its international first- and business-class flights. The carrier must consider both Korean and Western cuisines as well as the taste preferences of 17 million passengers from the 24 countries it serves.
And there are many more aspects the airline’s three international sommeliers — Andreas Larsson of Sweden, Evangelos Pattas of Belgium and Christine Balais of France — ponder when choosing wines every three years. They begin by sampling the airline’s in-flight meals to understand the flavors of the foods being served. They then blind taste approximately 300 wines, ultimately narrowing their choices down to about 25.
“The most important factor in choosing a wine,” Andreas Larsson says, “is the quality of the wine itself. We look for well-balanced wines. We consider aroma, flavor, length, structure, grape variety, the region, how it marries with our food. We try to offer wines from all over, not just from ‘must-have’ regions.” So while their selections often feature Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne, they also include California, South Africa, Spain, Germany and the Rhône: in short, the rest of the viticultural world. To counteract the effects of high altitude on the perception of wine, they also look for wines not overly high in tannin, acid and alcohol. And they often add other wines between their major tastings.
Once they narrow their choices, the sommeliers submit them to Hyun Mee Han, Asiana’s executive vice president, for her approval.
And that is why current passengers in Asiana’s first class can enjoy Pol Roger Cuvée Winston Churchill 2000 Champagne and a selection of Burgundy, South African Sauvignon Blanc and German Riesling among whites; and Bordeaux, Burgundy, Australian Shiraz and California Cabernet Sauvignon among reds. Business-class passengers can choose from Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne, Burgundy and California Chardonnay among whites; and among reds, Bordeaux, California Pinot Noir and Australian Syrah. Asiana also offers a variety of beers, mostly South Korea’s own.
Every year, Asiana opens 2,400 bottles of Champagne; 4,400 bottles of red wine; and 2,000 bottles of white in first class; and 34,000 bottles of Champagne; 83,000 bottles of red wine; and 48,000 bottles of white wine in business class, for a total cost in excess of $2.1 million.
No wonder a character in the popular Korean movie The Thieves says, “Asiana, they serve excellent wine.”
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Even if you are not familiar with Chicago, you may already know the Wicker Park neighborhood is one of the city’s “eat like a local” destinations, especially among young professionals whose idea of local is actually quite global. After a decade of high-concept comfort food and gastro-pubs, the Tan family took over a homey space on North Avenue to mix things up with the opening of Cebu. Cebu is not just a Filipino restaurant, but one focused on Cebuano regional cooking along with its Chinese and Spanish underpinnings.