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Why Food and Wine Taste Different on Airplanes


There are certain situations that seem to boost the flavor of your wine. A toast at your wedding, the first sip on a first date, a glass of Burgundy consumed in the vineyard’s cellar – all these experiences enhance what you’re drinking and help make for a very pleased palate. That said, there are also situations in which you might find your wine is drinking a little less than stellar. Airplane drinks, anyone?

As it turns out, there’s a reason your Champagne might not taste quite right when you’re soaring half a dozen miles up in the air.

According to Town & Country:

When flying at cruising altitude, cabin pressure and low humidity combine to dull certain flavors and heighten others. It’s akin to eating a delicious meal with a giant fan blowing on you, explains Andrea Robinson, a Master Sommelier who selects wines for Delta. Drinkers will still get the basic salty, sweet, bitter, and sour tastes, but the more subtle flavors that people sense from smelling, like strawberry and cherry, are decidedly difficult to pick out.

The solution, the magazine goes on to say, is to pick wines that are more fruit forward, so some of those bright fruity notes are still detectable even as your altitude rises. Other suggestions provided by the airline sommeliers (yup, that’s a thing!) consulted include staying hydrated, avoiding wines high in tannins or oak (especially new oak), and opting for sparkling wine with smaller bubbles that diffusely more slowly under a plane’s relatively low cabin pressure.

For specific wine recommendations and more info on how wine changes when you fly, check out the original article over at Town & Country.




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