TAP Wines Review – Wine Tasting on Ground vs. In Air

You certainly can get good Portuguese wines in the USA, but they don’t saturate wine stores and supermarkets the way their Californian, Italian, French, Spanish, Australian, South African and other cousins do.  


For a first-time Portugal tourist flying the Portuguese-feeling TAP airlines, your short course on Portuguese wine can begin as you fly across the Atlantic




In Business Class, the menu and wine list instructs, “Portugal has been producing wines for centuries, many of them from grape varieties that originated here.  In fact, we are proud to have more than 250 native grape varieties, most of which do not exist in other countries.  This makes our wines authentic originals and today names like Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Baga, Encruzado, Arinto and Antão Vaz are stars that inhabit our wines from the north to the south….”


That menu went on to list 7 wines that had been specifically selected to pair with the dishes being offered on that flight. 



It was the back story of how these wines came to be selected that caught our interest.  TAP might not be the first nor the only airline to do it, but this is how these wine pairings got shortlisted--



In 2013 TAP brought wine experts in for a tasting on the ground followed by an in-flight repeat. 



Pressurized cabins and varying humidity conditions are known to affect wine quality and this test was a way to see which vintages could best hold up.   



As the pictures suggest, this was a very thorough and professional assessment.   We sampled three wines on our two flights to and from Portugal and all were a cut above.



Our recommendation is to take advantage of TAP’s sommelier-driven research and both try something new – in our case it was a varietal of green grape wine from Alvarinho—and also taste and make a strong mental note of the port wine they select, as port wines are easier to find in the States.  (On our flights, a FerreiraQuinta do Porto 10-year-old tawny port was served.) 


Read our full review of TAP’s Business Class Flight from Newark to Lisbon here.


For more information on TAP airlines visit the TAP website.


Photos courtesy of TAP Portugal Airlines

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