The recently-appointed British Airways Master of Wine (MW), Tim Wilkinson, has worked with several award-winning wineries across the U.K. to source, taste and select the four labels that will be available for premium cabin customers for the next 12 months.
Of the more than 200 wineries operating in England and Wales, the British Airways team has studied the different Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and sparkling varieties, accounting for over 70 percent of all grapevines planted in the region.
As noted by the airline, Wilkinson selected a roster of peculiarly exotic British ‘bubbles’ available for tasting by British Airways’ Club World passengers. The offering will be a first for the airline, previously only available in the First Class cabin with Hattingley Valley from Hampshire.
“We know English sparkling wines have attracted international acclaim over the years and are only growing in popularity, so we are proud to work with four of the very best wine producers across England to celebrate British provenance and bring exclusive sparkling options for customers to try for themselves on board,” said Sajida Ismail, B.A.’s Director of Onboard Experience.
According to the airline, four options will be available rotationally, changing every three months. Customers can choose from two sparkling wines, including the resident Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Silver Top Non-Vintage Champagne.
In April, the first English sparkling wine to be featured onboard will be the Digby Fine English Brut NV. Produced in Arundel, West Sussex, it is a blend of Pinot Noir (40 percent), Chardonnay (35 percent), and Pinot Meunier (25 percent) with over three years’ maturation.
British Airways notes that this selection pairs with its current lineup of dishes available in Club World, including its after-dinner selection of cheeses.
From July, Club World passengers will enjoy the Balfour Rosé de Noirs, grown on the Balfour Hush Heath Estate in Kent. Made only from the vinification of Pinot Noir grapes, this lighter rosé is blended exclusively for British Airways.
Pale gold in color with delicate notes of crisp green apple, Simpsons Chalklands Cuvee Brut NV from Kent (40 percent Pinot Noir, 30 percent Chardonnay and 30 percent Pinot Meunier) will be available onboard from October.
Finally, in January 2024, passengers will toast the new year with a glass of Wiston Estate Brut NV from the South Downs hills—a 35 percent Chardonnay, 35 percent Pinot Noir, 30 percent Pinot Meunier cuvee refreshing in flavor with citrus and toasty notes.
International Wine List Offerings
Meanwhile, British Airways will continue to feature one of its worldwide destinations through its international wine carte offering. Next month, the airline will include a vast list of Portuguese wines, focusing on the northern city of Porto. According to British Airways, Club World and First Class passengers will be offered bottles of Anselmo Mendes’ Muros Antigos Loureiro Vinho Verde and Casa Ferreirinha’s Callabriga Douro.
On the ground, however, British Airways is offering an enhanced wine list inside its London Heathrow and Gatwick lounges. The airline has noted that this month, customers will be able to enjoy Whispering Angel Provence Rosé and The Pale, crafted by Château d’Esclans vineyards.