Business Traveller readers enjoyed a merry evening at the Singapore Airlines Dinner and Wine Tasting, sampling fine vintages with expert guidance.
Familiar faces and newcomers gathered at the exclusive Haberdashers’ Hall in London’s Farringdon on an autumnal evening in September for a wine tasting and pairing dinner in association with Singapore Airlines.
Following two-and-a-half years of suspended events, it was great to welcome readers back with a selection of Singapore Airlines’ fine wines, many of which were winners of Business Traveller’s prestigious 2021 Cellars in the Sky awards. Customers travelling with Singapore Airlines enjoy wines from the very best vineyards, with blind tasting by the carrier’s three wine consultants: Jeannie Cho Lee, Michael Hill Smith and Oz Clarke. The airline’s cabin crew are also taught the essentials of wine appreciation during their training, with some progressing to become Singapore Airlines’ Air Sommeliers.
The evening kicked off with a networking reception, filled with stories comparing recent adventures and postponed trips, before guests were called to dinner. The dining hall was beautifully laid out with several wine glasses of differing shapes and sizes, impressive silverware displays and a gift-wrapped Singapore Airlines’ embossed wine stopper.
Business Traveller’s editorial director Tom Otley and Singapore Airlines’ general manager UK and Ireland Mohamed Rafi Mar welcomed guests and introduced the evening’s host: Master of Wine Sam Caporn. Caporn is no stranger to the business travel world, with more than 20 years’ experience buying and blending wines for the UK market. Caporn is the recipient of the Madame Bollinger Medal for excellence in tasting, and a regular member of the judging panel for the Cellars in the Sky Awards.
Attendees got to know their neighbours in suitably luxury fashion over a glass of Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Brut 2012, France. Caporn divulged that the vintage is one of the most revered in recent years thanks to a dry, sunny summer. It was easy to follow the tasting process (even when things got a little hazier) thanks to a well-labelled key and an accompanying booklet offering details of each wine.
A starter of burrata with autumn mushrooms, grilled artichoke and rocket was paired with two white wines: the vibrant Stonier Chardonnay 2020, Mornington Peninsula, Australia and the biodynamic Domaine de Montille Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Chalumeaux” 2017, Burgundy, France. The latter became a firm favourite, with each sip setting off a flurry of enthusiastic voices.
Mains included braised beef short rib with duchess potato, braised red cabbage and celeriac purée, and a vegetarian alternative of pumpkin risotto with parmesan and crispy sage. These were paired with two shiraz wines, which scored gold and silver respectively in the Cellars in the Sky Awards: the intense Clonakilla O’Riada Shiraz 2015, Canberra District, Australia, and the fruitier Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz 2017, Australia.
Caporn was on hand for wine queries, while Singapore Airlines’ Air Sommeliers, husband and wife duo, Vincent Lee and Sherlyn Chia, toured the room to provide insight into the airline’s selection process.
Dinner concluded with a colourful cheese board paired with the sweet Graham’s 20-year-old Tawny Port NV, Douro, Portugal. Those with a sweet tooth weren’t forgotten, with mint chocolate thins accompanying tea and coffee.
As the night drew to a close, Business Traveller’s Tom Otley announced the winners of the two prize draws. Eight lucky readers won Singapore Airlines’ model planes, which doubled as the centrepieces for the dining tables, and two readers walked away with a bottle of wine each.
We hope you enjoyed the evening as much as we did and left feeling suitably merry and wiser about the wine world. To register your interest and find out more about future events, visit businesstravellerevents.com