Cathay Pacific Has A New First Class Champagne

For as long as I can remember, Cathay Pacific has served Krug champagne in first class.

While there are some airlines that serve more expensive champagne (for example, Japan Airlines serves 2002 Salon, which retails for $300+ per bottle), I find Krug to be incredibly well rounded, and personally prefer it to Salon.

Japan-Airlines-First-Class-12

However, it looks like for the first time in a long time, Cathay Pacific has changed their longhaul first class champagne selection. As of August 1, 2017, Cathay Pacific is serving Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006 in longhaul first class (they continue to serve a different champagne in regional first class). Below is the new longhaul menu that my friend Jim was kind enough to forward me a picture of.

Initially when I heard that Cathay Pacific was changing champagnes I assumed it was a cost cutting measure, given their poor financial performance. After all, they recently made some minor cuts to first class, including eliminating the pre-takeoff amuse bouche, so further cost cutting wouldn’t come as a surprise.

Cathay-Pacific-First-Class-777-07

However, at least based on the retail price of this champagne, it’s not a downgrade at all. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006 generally retails for slightly more per bottle than Krug (you can get better pricing on both champagnes than the above links, but at least it gives you a sense of the pricing). Of course airlines aren’t paying retail for champagne, so it’s possible they’re getting a deal on a promotional basis.

We also don’t yet know if Taittinger will be the permanent champagne they use for first class, or if they’ll begin rotating their selection every couple of months, as many airlines do.

While I’m not sure I’ve ever had the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006 before, I did have the 2000 vintage of it in Qantas first class, and remember enjoying it.

If you need your Krug fix, there are plenty of airlines that still serve Krug in first class, including ANA, Qatar, Singapore Airlines, and at the moment, Air France.

Has anyone had the Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006? If so, what did you think of it?

Comments

  1. If you see the 2002 Salon anywhere for $300, please get me 10 bottles! Not only is it impossible to find anymore, its price went up to 500 EUR+ even when buying directly from the cellar. I believe JAL switched to 2004 vintage, which is also a $400 bottle.

    While everyone salivates over the overpriced Krug, I’ll gladly enjoy the Shrek-looking Salon bottles 🙂

    Even the $1300 Krug Clos de Mesnil 2002, which would be Krug’s equivalent of Salon (same village, same vintage, tiny yield) is a real disappointment compared to Salon.

  2. An improvement in my book. The more I drink Comtes the more I love it 🙂

    Peter B – QR does have a rather awesome tendency for sporadically putting F champagnes on J flights. I was served Cuvee Louise in J on DOH-SYD last year, which was exceptional.

  3. I guess I’m not a huge fan of the Blancs de blancs. I would prefer Dom Rose or even my go to at home, the Billecart salmon rose

  4. Style preference aside, the 2006 Blanc de blancs from many producers seem to be hitting all the right notes. The most recent tasting of 2006 Comtes confirmed this.

    The Salon was more approachable than the 2002. While 2002 is heralded as a great vintage, the champagnes seem to be taking their time developing.

    Also, the round and robust styles seem to show better at altitude. The same wines I find way too ripe and overdone on the ground taste great in the air, while burgundies that are incredible on the ground tend to come drab and astringent in the air.

  5. 2006 Comtes is really good . . . a bit of a different style than Krug but certainly not a downgrade! In fact this was the champagne that my AF La Premiere flight from LAX to spain was serving in both directions in April.

    But for the record, 2002 Salon smokes both those wines. Incredibly rare, coveted stuff that will age for decades.

  6. @anon: Maybe, though the importer I talked to said his price ex-cellar is 500 EUR now…

    Regardless, I was reacting to the statement that “2002 Salon … retails for $300+ per bottle”.

    @Dan: Interesting conclusions! I wish airlines would take this into account when choosing wines to feature onboard, not just plop down a desirable brand and call it a day.

  7. @Lucky, on JL first they serve this Taittanger alongside the Salon: I actually wasn’t too fond of the Salon, after a couple of glasses I switched to the Blanc de Blancs and never looked back. On my return flight didn’t even ask for Salon. Too me, it had an “almondy” after taste. I’d love to retry both on the ground.

  8. What’s this fixation with Krug? Did someone on FlyerTalk with a high post count once try to convince people how awesome it was 10 years ago and now all the bloggers swear by it?

    Or does every frequent flyer’s hero (Randy) have it on tap at his house right next to his throne where people bow in front of him at?

  9. Ughhh literally just finished booking a Cathay F ticket when I saw this. I was looking forward to the Krug.

  10. Please talk about points and credit cards and stop with champagne and food. Your knowledge and skills are below average and your articles are full of mistakes.
    You only benchmark is the retail price… what a boring way of talking about wines…

  11. What a weird Post this is. If we can focus on the wines only and how they perform on the ground, the Comtes is unquestionably the better wine over the Krug. We are comparing the vintage tete de cuvee from one marque to the non-vintage base cuvee from the other. And Salon is deservedly more expensive than either. If you want to know why, drink a 20+ year old bottle of both and you’ll understand why.

    And while I believe Krug GC is way overpriced and frequently bested by Growers like Lallement, their vintage wines really are phenomenal.

    As Dan says….in the air, all that is different. Wine just doesn’t taste the same, so I tend to stick with Club soda even in J and F.

  12. I never understood the facination for Krug non vintage. Swiss had a great champagne before the Grand Siecle, Something Cuvé Louise vintage.

  13. Also had the Tait in AF La Premiere end of May CDG-SFO. Altitude or not, I much preferred the ’04 Cuvée Alexandra Rosé from Laurent-Perrier that their serve in their salon in Paris. Now THAT was highly satisfying. The Tait came across as too acidic and tight (still?)…

  14. My friend mostly works in CX F. His Flight Prep still shows Krug on CX882 on 3 Aug 2017. He sent me a pic 🙂

  15. How would we know which champagne was better if we didn’t have any way of knowing the price? We’d be totally lost and red-faced. The universe would collapse before our eyes.

  16. Krug has a reputation of being a champagne that you either love or hate. This is probably to due to its unique “attaque” (i.e., the taste just after you swallow). Taittinger’s champagnes are very well rounded but I have to admit that I personally do not like any of the “Blancs des blancs” (i.e., pure Chardonnay). Overall, champagne something that is very personal.

    One of my former clients was one of the high-end Vodka distiller. The person who was responsible for getting the brand on the planes spent hours on the phone and flew probably as much as Lucky. One thing that I learned from watching all of this is that getting your brand of wine or liquor on a plane is the product of a long-term courtship between certain people. The “sellers” go from distiller to distiller during their careers but that courtship is a very durable relationship that goes from far beyond the brand.

  17. I am almost through accumulating enough points for a FC RT award from the U.S. to S.E. Asia on CX and was looking forward to drink the Krug Grande Cuvee.

    In BC, the best wine deal is presently with TG: despite its financial problems, it still offers the Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Champagne, even on regional flights, and the very good Henri Bourgeois (white) Sancerre “Les Baronnes”.

  18. @Chuck, this is wy my wine friends like to do blind tastings. When you remove the visual of the name/bottle, you get lots of more honest discussion.

  19. I enjoy the reviews of airlines, lounge and hotels, things that Lucky has a lot of experience with, but the lack of refinement in the food and wine reviews are hurting his overall review. There’s more to food and wine than the price tag.

  20. I flew CX to JFK 8/3 in F and was served Krug. The chief purser said they will continue to serve this one on long hauls and introduce others on regional flights. A bit at odds with above report so perhaps not fully implemented of yet. Either way, not complaining . Enjoyed my flight very much.

  21. Like Charles noted, CX may be in the process of changing out their champagne. On LAX-HKG in F on 8/2, it was only Taittnger as seen in the menu photo. However, the week prior on the reverse route it was Krug.

  22. Hey Lucky,

    While CX may have upgraded their F class champagne, they have downgraded their J class champagne, from Billecart-Salmon to Piper Heidsieck Brut. Another evidence of cost cutting.

  23. David says:
    August 3, 2017 at 2:57 pm
    I enjoy the reviews of airlines, lounge and hotels, things that Lucky has a lot of experience with, but the lack of refinement in the food and wine reviews are hurting his overall review. There’s more to food and wine than the price tag.
    >>> 100000000% agree. Taste in food and wine here is just… well, price / nachos / “great there is industrial ice cream in the air”… better to focus on miles and airlines.

  24. I flew ANA earlier this week and on the menu was a picture of the new wines, introduced by the airline, had the Krug Grande Cuvee in the center of the photo.

    I am perfectly fine with Lucky expressing what he feels like, on food and wines.
    Perfectionist as he is, I am also pretty sure that he will try to “refine” those reports.

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