Awards

Cellars in the Sky 2023

12 Feb 2024 by BusinessTraveller
Cellars in the Sky

The winners of Business Traveller’s Cellars in the Sky Awards 2023 have been announced, supported by Chateau d’Esclans.

This year saw Qantas win Gold medals in a total of nine categories, for Best Business Class White, Best Business Class Red, Best Business Class Cellar, Best First Class Sparkling, Best First Class White, Best First Class Red, Best First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine, Best First Class Cellar and Best Overall Cellar.

Meanwhile Singapore Airlines took Gold medals for Best Business Class Sparkling and Best-presented First Class Wine List, and oneworld won Gold in the Best Alliance category.

Other Gold medals winners included United AirlinesOman AirCorsairQatar AirwaysLufthansaTAP Air Portugal and Malaysia Airlines.

Now in its 38th 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.

Late last year, a panel of expert judges convened at Haberdashers’ Hall, in Smithfield, London, to select the best bottles served by airlines in business and first class in 2023.

The judges were wine maker John Worontschak, Masters of Wine Sam Caporn and Peter McCombie, 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 2023, 30 airlines entered.

Business Traveller would like to thank Chateau d’Esclans for supporting the 2023 Cellars in the Sky awards, as well as Bottega for sponsoring the reception drinks, and our other sponsors The UncommonThe Pickle House and Pimentae.

For more information and images for publication, please contact  [email protected].

Cellars in the Sky 2023 sponsors

THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND SHORTLISTED AIRLINES

(Judges comments in italics)

WINNING REDS

Business Class Red 

Gold – Qantas – 94 points 

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz, 2022, Australia 

“Notes of spice, cloves, white pepper, floral notes which run into fresh cherry and plum flavours” 

Gold – Qantas – 94 points 

Dalwhinnie Mesa Shiraz, 2020, Australia 

“Amazing notes of herbs, thyme, pepper, fine tannins and subtle oak” 

Silver – Qatar – 93.5 points 

Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz, 2019, Australia 

“Very attractive wine, full bodied with well-integrated spicy oak, plush black fruits” 

Bronze – Oman Air – 93 points 

Penfolds Max’s Shiraz Cabernet, 2017, Australia 

“Pretty, creamy, soft and succulent, ripe fruits, chocolate, long finish” 

First Class Red 

Gold – Qantas – 94 Points 

Penfolds RWT Bin 798 Barossa Valley Shiraz, 2018, Australia 

“Lovely spicy oak on the nose, very polished and balanced, rich with perfumed fruits” 

Silver – British Airways – 93.5 Points 

Mullineux Syrah Swartland, 2020, South Africa 

“Charming, open and expressive, black cherry and pepper, excellent balance” 

BronzeKorean Air – 92.5 Points 

Shafer TD-9, 2019, California, US 

“Really well polished, ripe plum and black cherry, smart use of oak” 

Bronze – Korean Air – 92.5 Points 

Henschke Mount Edelstone Shiraz, 2016, Australia 

“Lots of mint and eucalyptus, blackcurrant, cherry and spice, good tannins and finish” 

WINNING WHITES

Business Class White 

Gold – Qantas – 96 points 

Flametree S.R.S Chardonnay, 2022, Margaret River, Australia 

“Some smoky notes, toasty flashes, good minerality, great finish, excellent” 

Silver – Singapore Airlines – 95 points 

Deep Woods Estate Margaret River Chardonnay, 2021, Australia 

“Nice use of well-integrated oak, minty, sharp edged, delicious”  

Bronze – Qatar Airways – 94 points 

Penfolds Bin 311 Chardonnay, 2018, Australia 

“Lots of dimension and texture, very smart, notes of citrus, grapefruit and white peach” 

First Class White  

Gold – Qantas – 95 Points 

Tolpuddle Chardonnay, 2021, Tasmania, Australia 

“Light lemon colour, restrained aromatics, elegant on the palate, good acidity and intelligent oak” 

Gold – Malaysia Airlines – 95 Points  

Château CouhinsLurton, 2020, France 

“Notes of butterscotch and toast, spicy, waxy quality ripe fruits and good length” 

Silver – Qantas – 94 Points 

Penfolds Reserve Bin 18A, 2018, Australia 

“Attractive well-integrated oak, nice citrus acidity, very classy and modern, rich yet structured, elegant” 

Bronze – Japan Airlines – 93 Points 

Henri Bourgeois Sancerre d’Antan, 2016, France 

“Waxy, spicy wine with green notes underneath, dried grass, light gooseberry, nicely balanced” 

WINNING SPARKLING

Business Class Sparkling 

Gold – Singapore Airlines – 95 points 

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, 2014, France 

“Sophisticated style, evolved, stony acidity, note of salted caramel, fresh acidity” 

 Silver – Qantas – 94.5 points 

Champagne Duval Leroy Femme de Champagne, 2002, France 

“Complex, toasty brioche notes, yeasty marmite nose, harmonised finish” 

 Bronze – Korean Air – 94 points 

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Rare Champagne, 2007, France 

“Lightly savoury, peanut brittle notes, nice freshness, long finish” 

First Class Sparkling 

Gold – Qantas – 96 points 

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, 2008, France 

“Attractive nose, heady, rich, alluring, notes of lemon curd, dried hay, apple crumble” 

Silver – British Airways – 95.5 points 

Champagne LaurentPerrier Grand Siècle NV, France  

“Rich savoury, honeycomb, lemon curd, toast and grilled nut flavours, long finish” 

Silver – Joint All Nippon Airways & Cathay Pacific – 95.5 points 

Champagne Krug, 2004, France 

“Rich and layered, seductive, complex and alluring, outstanding” 

Bronze – Malaysia Airlines – 94.5 Points 

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs, 2007, France 

“Notes of toast, hazelnut, crème caramel, stylish with great bottle age” 

WINNING ROSES

Business Class Rosé

Gold – United Airlines – 92 points 

Whispering Angel Rosé, 2022, Château d’Esclans, France 

“Fresh, crisp, some redcurrant, complex minerality, great finish” 

 Silver – Qatar Airways – 91.5 points 

Rosé et Or Château Minuty, 2021, France 

“Complex with lots of freshness, notes of pink grapefruit” 

Bronze – Delta Air Lines – 90 points 

La Fête du Rosé, 2020, France 

“Complex and balanced, refreshing acidity, hints of summer fruits“ 

Bronze – JetBlue – 90 points 

Triennes Rosé, 2022, France 

“Dry and delicate, hints of grenadine, white cherry and peach” 

First Class Rosé

Gold – Qatar Airways – 91.5 points 

Château d’Esclans, 2021, France 

“Elegant palate, notes of nectarines, peach and redcurrants, hint of oak on the nose” 

Silver – American Airlines – 91 Points 

Colombo Cape Bleue Rosé, 2022, France 

“Pretty, overt red berry fruits, fresh and charming, well balanced” 

Bronze – British Airways – 90.5 Points 

Caves d’Esclans Rock Angel, 2021, France 

“Pale colour, with hints of floral, citrus and redcurrant flavours, light oak” 

WINNING FORTIFIED/DESSERT

Business Class Fortified / Dessert Wine 

Gold – Oman Air – 95 points 

Château SUAU, 2016, France 

“Notes of orange peel and honeysuckle, good acid balance” 

Gold – Joint – Lufthansa & TAP Air Portugal – 95 Points 

Graham’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal 

“Earth, toffee and fig cake flavours, nice spice, generous and sweet, lovely finish” 

Silver – Singapore Airlines – 94 Points 

Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat, Australia 

“Floral nose with rich intense flavours of spice and Christmas pudding, hint of oak, great finish” 

Bronze – Qantas – 93.5 points 

Baileys of Glenrowan Founders Series Classic Muscat, Australia 

“Very exuberant, taste of figs, toffee, caramel and raisins, generous and not overly sweet” 

First Class Fortified / Dessert Wine 

Gold – Qantas – 94 Points 

Morris of Rutherglen Old Premium Rare Topaque, NV, Australia  

“Deep rich brown, aromas of butterscotch, smooth texture with a long finish” 

Silver – Lufthansa – 93.5 Points 

Niepoort Tawny 20 Year Old Port, NV, Portugal 

“Amber in colour, sweet with grilled nuts and orange peel” 

Bronze – Qatar Airways – 93 Points 

Graham’s 40 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal 

“Complex with flavours of nuts and treacle, good length” 

Highly Commended – Korean Air – 92.5 Points 

Château Guiraud, Sauternes, 2002, France 

“Really pretty, nice bottle age, lush apricot flavour” 

WINNING CELLARS

Business Class Cellar

  • Gold Qantas
  • Silver Qatar Airways
  • Bronze Singapore Airlines
  • Highly Commended Eva Air 

First Class Cellar 

  • Gold Qantas
  • Silver Malaysia Airlines
  • Bronze All Nippon Airways 
  • Highly Commended Japan Airlines 

Overall Cellar

  • Gold Qantas  
  • Silver Qatar Airways
  • Bronze Singapore Airlines  

WINNING WINE LIST

Business Class Best-Presented Wine List  

  • Gold Corsair  
  • Silver Lufthansa  
  • Bronze Singapore Airlines

First Class Best-Presented Wine List  

  • Gold Singapore Airlines  
  • Silver Lufthansa  
  • Bronze Japan Airlines  

WINNING ALLIANCE

  • Gold oneworld
  • Silver Star Alliance
  • Bronze SkyTeam 
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