From time to time a group of journalists and wine experts gather for a few days to taste and select, on land and in the air, the best wines to taste aboard tap's fleet
The French publicist Jean Jacques Séguéla has a famous phrase that says "Don't tell my mother I work in advertising... She thinks I'm a pianist in a brothel!" Well, with wine critics it's more or less the same thing... What about a person who wakes up in the morning and spends the day tasting and spitting wine? Crazy? Eccentric? OK... apart from the exaggerations that the imaginary can create, the technique is even this when the goal is to evaluate and make known the sensory characteristics of a wine.
It sounds like an easy task, but it's not. It's years to prove. To evaluate well, a taste has to train a lot, taste many wines of all kinds and styles, Portuguese and foreign, to be able to compare and assume the responsibility of selecting the best wines, in this case, to get on board tap planes . It is necessary to use the technique and leave personal taste aside, understand which are the most balanced and those who will please the traveler more, who can both understand wine, as being a layman in the matter. All this in blind test and... always spitting!
Generally speaking, airplane food has always been criticized. But in the last decade, TAP can be proud to have excelled among competing airlines for the investment made in a more appetizing stay, both in terms of food and wines. In the latter case, a group of journalists and critics of gastronomy and wines (including those who write to you) are summoned to taste exhaustively until they find the best wines that will then be consumed in the economic and executive classes, in the medium and long Courses. Entering tap's planes is beneficial for producers, who become part of what is the first showcase of Portuguese wines that foreigners know before walking around our country discovering places and new flavors.
In recent years, the race is even more special, because we fly on purpose to different locations in Europe just to test the wines in the air! It is that, according to several studies on the environment in an airplane cabin, altitude has an influence on how meals are perceived, including wines. The ultra-skilled atmosphere of the cabin dehydrates the body and causes 30 percent of our sensory capabilities to be lost. Smell is less accurate and a dry mouth cannot capture the subtlest aromas due to the reduction of saliva needed to activate taste buds. Studies also indicate that different sounds and colors can also affect the perception of flavors. For example, the same food may look different if we are proving it with two different types of music, just as different colors may suggest more or less intense flavors. It's true, up there, everything is different, and it's proven in the scores given on land and in the air. The food also helps, and a lot, to realize which wines are the best on board. In short: white wines and young reds, aromatics and fruity result better in altitude than more alcoholic, complex wines with wood, which demonstrated more harshtint tannins.
The selection of wines
For TAP it is important to find wines that mirror our quality, richness and variety. In order to reach a large number of producers, the airline contacts ViniPortugal to disseminate to the Wine Commissions of each region the profile of the desired wines.
The selection process is explained from the outset, and one of the main requirements is to be well-scored/award-winning wines in specialty magazines and competitions, national and international. In turn, the Commissions contact producers who finally send the samples to TAP. It will be in the logistics department that the first pre-selection of wines is made, and soon removed those who do not have productive capacity (quantities), competitive price or difficulties in maintaining the quality of harvest for harvesting. Then you know. The most interesting part is even for us, the experts, who have the privilege of proving them... Is there any better work than this?