Awards

Cellars in the Sky 2022

20 Feb 2023 by Mark Caswell
Cellars in the Sky

The winners of Business Traveller’s Cellars in the Sky Awards 2022 have been announced, sponsored by Whispering Angel.

Now in its 37th year, Cellars in the Sky has been running since 1985, and celebrates the best business and first class wines served by airlines on their flights.

Following two years of route disruptions and restrictions on inflight services, the world has reopened and travel is back in full force. This also signalled the end of socially distanced tastings and the return to a normal judging process for our awards.

This year saw Singapore Airlines walk away with five Gold Medals, for Best Business Class Red, Best Business Class Cellar, Best Overall Cellar, Best Presented Business Class Wine List, and Best Presented First Class Wine List.

Meanwhile Qantas took Gold Medals for Best Business Class White, Best First Class White and Best First Class Cellar, Qatar Airways won Gold for Best First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine, British Airways took home a Gold Medal for Best First Class Red, and Oman Air won Gold for Best First Class Sparkling.

Relative minnow Air Tahiti Nui won Gold Medals for Best Business Class Sparkling and Best Business Class Rosé, and Oneworld took top spot for Best Alliance.

Cellars in the Sky judging day

The judges were John Worontschak, Helen McGinn, Masters of Wine Peter McCombie and Sarah Abbott, and head judge Charles Metcalfe, founder of the International Wine Challenge.

The competition is open to any carrier that serves wine in business or first class on mid- or long-haul routes. Each airline is invited to enter two reds, two whites, a rosé, a sparkling, and a fortified or dessert wine from both cabins.

They can compete in as many categories as they like but to be eligible for the Best Overall Cellar award, they must enter at least one red, white and sparkling. For 2022, 22 airlines entered.

THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND SHORTLISTED AIRLINES

WINNING REDS

Best First Class Red

Gold

British Airways

Teusner The Riebke Barossa Valley Shiraz, 2019, Australia

Judges said: Delicious black fruit flavours, warm spices, and lovely, lingering saline finish.

Score: 94

Silver

Singapore Airlines

Clonakilla O’Riada Canberra Shiraz, 2019, Australia

Judges said: Very refined, supple juicy, elegant, classy and beautiful.

Score: 93.5

Bronze (joint)

Oman Air

Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru les Sorbets, 2017, Albert Bichot, France

Judges said: Refined aromatics build on the nose, supple tannins, spiced elegance and beautiful balance.

Qatar Airways

Two Hands Ares Barossa Valley Shiraz, 2014, Australia

Judges said: Soft and voluptuous yet elegant, extravagant nose, raisin and spice. Very ripe, jammy and powerful.

Score: 93

Best Business Class Red

Gold

Singapore Airlines

Teusner The Riebke Barossa Valley Shiraz, 2019, Australia

Judges said: Delicious black fruit flavours, warm spices, and lovely, lingering saline finish.

Score: 94

Silver

British Airways

Santa Rita, Medalla Real Gold Medal Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017, Chile

Judges said: Bursting with plum, berry and chocolate flavours, lovely tannins and long finish.

Score: 93 points

Bronze

Iceland Air

M.Chapoutier Belleruche, Côtes-du-Rhône, 2020, France

Judges said: Delicate aromatics, nice fruit balance, silky tannins.

Score: 92.5 points

WINNING WHITES

Best First Class White

Gold

Qantas

Tolpuddle Tasmania Chardonnay, 2018, Australia

Judges said: Toasty fresh oak, subtle depth and elegance, lovely length and delicate intensity.

Score: 95

Silver

Qantas

Penfolds Reserve Bin 18A Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, 2018, Australia

Judges said: Crisp oak, creamy, reductive tangy fresh, vibrant but not aggressive.

Score: 93

Bronze

Singapore Airlines

Domaine de Montille Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “les Chalumeaux”, 2017, France

Judges said: Classy oak, delicate intensity, mouth-watering acidity.

Score: 92

Best Business Class White

Gold

Qantas

Penfolds Max’s Chardonnay 2018, Australia

Judges said: Stone fruits, faint wafts of citrus, floral notes with a hint of ginger, oak balanced giving a nutty nuance.

Score: 94

Silver

Aircalin

Crozes Hermitage Mule Blanche Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné, 2021, France

Judges said: Aromatic nose, white flowers, delicate woody note, well-rounded, fresh finish.

Score: 93.5

Bronze

Cathay Pacific

Nik Weis Saarfeilser Riesling GG, 2016, Mosel, Germany

Judges said: Full of character, complex, pronounced and refreshing.

Score: 93 points

WINNING SPARKLING

Best First Class Sparkling

Gold

Oman Air

Champagne Charles Heidsieck, Blanc des Millénaires, 2007, France

Judges said: Creamy and complex, deeper gold-green hints, breezy aromatics.

Score: 97

Silver (joint)

Qantas and Singapore Airlines

Champagne Tattinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc, 2008, France

Judges said: Rich, complex, spice and citrus feel, dense yet elegant.

Score: 96

Bronze

British Airways

Champagne Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle NV, France

Judges said: Good development, nutty, some spice and oak, broad and rich.

Score: 95.5

Best Business Class Sparkling

Gold

Air Tahiti Nui

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV, France

Judges said: Creamy and complex, vanilla, brioche, light and reductive on the palate.

Score: 95

Silver

Singapore Airlines

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, 2014, France

Judges said: Sophisticated style, evolved, stony, salty, fresh acidity.

Score: 94

Bronze (joint)

EVA Air

Champagne Castelnau Brut Millésime 2006, France

Judges said: Deep gold, stony and yeasty, nice evolution, rich toasty style.

Finnair

Champagne Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut NV, France

Judges said: Toasty, nice personality, honeycomb with a hint of ginger.

Qantas

Champagne Jacquart Brut Mosaïque NV, France

Judges said: Elegant and creamy, green aromatics apple and pear, mineral finish with lemongrass.

Score: 91

WINNING ROSES

Best First Class Rosé

(Note: Only silver and bronze awarded as the judges did not score any submitted rosés above 92, the benchmark for a gold award.)

Silver

Qatar Airways

Domaines Ott Château Romassan Bandol, 2020, France

Judges said: Pale pink colour, good depth, citrus with a hint of liquorice.

Score: 91

Bronze

American Airlines

Pebble Lane Pinot Noir Rosé, 2021, California

Judges said: Elegant and silky, well-balanced, intense, bright red fruits.

Score: 90

Best Business Class Rosé

Gold

Air Tahiti Nui

Château des Demoiselles – Côtes de Provence, 2021, France

Judges said: Vibrant, lively, savoury, hints of lavender and rosemary.

Score: 92

Silver

Qatar Airways

Château Beaulieu, Cuvée Alexandre Rosé Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, 2020, France

Judges said: Savoury, crisp, flavours of strawberry and redcurrants, nice acidity.

Score: 91

Bronze

Virgin Atlantic

Château de Montfrin La Tour Rosé, 2021, France

Judges said: Peach and strawberry aromas, crisp and light with good balance.

Score: 90

WINNING FORTIFIED/DESSERT

First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine

Gold

Qatar Airways

Château Rieussec 1er Grand Cru Classé Sauternes, 2010, France

Judges said: Bouquet of ripe peach, nectarine and honey; hint of ginger, perfectly balanced acidity.

Score: 95

Silver

Qantas

Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Rare Topaque, NV, Australia

Judges said: Treacle, raisin, nice bitterness, molasses, fig jam, smooth and balanced.

Score: 93.5

Bronze

American Airlines

Maynard’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port, NV, Portugal

Judges said: Advanced nose, nutty and tangy spice, caramel notes, clean oak flavour, appealing raisin fruit.

Score: 93

Best Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine

Gold

Aircalin

Domaine La Sobilane, Rivesaltes, 1948, France

Judges said: Aromas of quince and oranges, flavours of nuts and dried fruits, smooth and balanced.

Score: 94.5

Silver

Qantas

Baileys of Glenrowan Founders series Classic Muscat, NV, Australia

Judges said: Clean and bright within treacle muscat lusciousness.

Score: 94

Bronze (joint)

Singapore Airlines

Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat NV, Australia

Judges said: Really sweet and sticky flavours, burnt sugar, tobacco, prunes and raisin.

TAP Air Portugal

Graham’s 10 Years Old Tawny Port, NV, Portugal

Judges said: Complex nutty aromas, rich mature fruit flavours.

Score: 93

WINNING CELLARS

Best First Class Cellar

Gold – Qantas

Silver – Singapore Airlines

Bronze – Oman Air

Best Business Class Cellar

Gold – Singapore Airlines

Silver – Qantas

Bronze – Cathay Pacific

Best Overall Cellar

Gold – Singapore Airlines

Silver – Qantas

Bronze – Oman Air

WINNING WINE LIST

First Class Best-Presented Wine List

Gold – Singapore Airlines

Silver – Japan Airlines

Bronze – Korean Air

Business Class Best-Presented Wine List

Gold – Singapore Airlines

Silver – Jetblue

Bronze – Air Canada

WINNING ALLIANCE

Best Alliance

Gold – Oneworld

Silver – Star Alliance

Bronze – Skyteam

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