Here Are The Wines American Serves In Flagship Lounges

Last week I wrote about how American downgraded their champagne selection at Flagship Lounges. Until recently they had Bollinger champagne at all Flagship Lounges, which seemed super premium for an American Airlines lounge.

As I explained at the time, this was part of a bigger change at American, as they’re changing out their wine in all off their lounges. Going forward, each Flagship Lounge will have their own wines picked by Bobby Stuckey and Desmond Echavarrie. Stuckey is American’s master sommelier and official wine ambassador, while Echavarrie is the master sommelier for the lounges. On one hand I don’t love the lack of consistency, though at the same time this might be fun for American frequent flyers who like to try different wines.

With that in mind, American has sent over their list of wines that they’ll have at each Flagship Lounge, for any of you wine connoisseurs who may be interested.

Long term American’s champagne at all Flagship Lounge locations will be Delamotte Brut, and that will be complemented by the following wines:

Los Angeles (LAX) Flagship Lounge Wines

Don Olegario Albarifio, Rias Baixas 2016
Trinity Hill Sauvignon Blanc, Hawkes Bay 2016
Santa Barbra Winery Chardonnay, Santa Barbara 2016
Chateau Miraval Cote de Provence Rose 2016
Vermillion, California 2015
Volunteer, Napa Valley 2015
Kanzler Vineyard, Sonoma 2014


American’s Flagship Lounge LAX

Chicago (ORD) Flagship Lounge Wines

Pratsch Griiner Veltliner, Austria 2015
Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2016
Pahlmeyer Jayson Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2014
Chateau Miraval Cote de Provence Rose 2016
Scarpetta Barbera del Monferrato, Piedmont 2015
Tablas Creek Patelin, Paso Robles 2015
Round Pond Kith & Kin, Napa Valley 2015


American’s Flagship Lounge ORD

New York (JFK) Flagship Lounge Wines

Pieropan Soave Classico, Veneto 2016
Protea Chenin Blanc, Western Cape 2016
Robert Talbott Chardonnay Kali Hart, Carmel 2015
Chateau Miraval Cote de Provence Rose 2016
Vine & Supply Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2013
Margaux de Brane, Bordeaux 2014
Educated Guess, Napa Valley 2015


American’s Flagship Lounge JFK

Miami (MIA) Flagship Lounge Wines

Patient Cottat Sauvignon Blanc, Loire 2016
Chehalem Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2016
Ramey Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2014
Chateau Miraval Cote de Provence Rose 2016
Carlos Serres Gran Reserva Rioja 2010
Zuccardi Q Malbec, Mendoza 2015
Textbook, Napa Valley 2016


American’s Flagship Lounge MIA

Flagship First Dining Wines

Failla Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014
L ‘Hospitalet de Gazin Pomerol 2014
Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve MV


American’s Flagship First Dining JFK

Bottom line

I’m far from a wine connoisseur, and if I’m drinking in a lounge I usually just have a glass of champagne. The truth is that I’m usually working on my laptop in lounges since I’m about to get on a flight, and I’m not great at drinking and working. So I’ll leave it to you guys to tell me what you think of American’s wine selection.

What stands out to me is that American has an improved selection in Flagship First Dining, including a premium champagne (Billecart-Salmon).

As I’ve said before, I have nothing but good things to say about American’s Flagship Lounges. Unlike United they’re actually opening their lounges quickly, and unlike Delta, at least they have premium international lounges.

So wine connoisseurs, tell me what you think of American’s wine selection, please!

Comments

  1. I’ve yet to drink any wine in an airport or airplane that wasn’t mediocre at best and barely drinkable swill at worst. Probably the best I had was on Korean Air first class, but even then, it certainly wasn’t memorable. I live within driving distance of Napa and Sonoma counties and Paso Robles, so perhaps I’m just spoiled.

  2. If they added the Billecart-Salmon rose, I would be intentionally flying out of AA Flagship dining hubs then. The brut is good, but the rose is so much better, assuming you like rose.

  3. Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve is not too much better than Bollinger. I would call this a business class champagne, but still far superior than big names like Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label or Moet and Chandon Imperial. I consistently see it for sale at stores for around $45. It’s no Dom or Krug, but a pretty decent value “everyday” champagne. Billecart-Salmon Rose is much superior, probably the best rose I have ever had, including big names. $90 is not too unreasonable for international first class?

  4. I’m a big Chardonnay drinks and find the price/quality swing of the lounge-specific Chardonnay choices to be very interesting:

    Santa Barbra Winery Chardonnay, Santa Barbara 2016 (~$15)
    Pahlmeyer Jayson Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2014 (~$50)
    Robert Talbott Chardonnay Kali Hart, Carmel 2015 (~$15)
    Ramey Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2014 (~$35)
    Failla Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 (~$35)

    Interesting spread. If you’re a Chardonnay love like me, looks like you should be connecting in MIA or ORD (and/or splurging on the Flagship First Dining with a First Class ticket).

    I sure will miss the Bollinger. 🙁

  5. Looks like there has been a downgrade in Champagne in the Flagship First selection. Previously the menu advertised Taittinger 2009–now it’s non-vintage Billecart-Salmon.

    The wines seem OK, nothing to write home about. The business class selections are actually better than what I would expect. Despite Ben’s preference for it, I’m not a huge fan of Sauvignon Blanc (as its hallmark in blind wine tasting, which I do competitively, is an intense grassy note which I often find unpleasant and out of balance). This is particularly true of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs; they are more intensely grassy on the nose. But I have to say that Dog Point is a New Zealand Sauv Blanc that I appreciate. While it has those intense aromas it is more complex and interesting due to its aging in oak, which is unusual for Sauv Blanc made outside of Bordeaux.

    One another corrective note: I believe the first wine should be Albariño, not Albarifio. Albariño is a high-acidity, moderate-alcohol grape grown in Galicia, Spain and sometimes in Portugal that has a lovely peachy note and a pithy texture with some bite. Not dissimilar to Gruner Veltliner that also appears on the list, which is an increasingly popular Austrian grape that when ripe has a tropical fruit note in addition to peppery spice! You should try that, Ben, and see if you like it!

  6. As a former wine buyer – many of these are definitely closeout opportunities from local distributors which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are a couple wines that stand out to me as higher quality producers/wines, namely:
    Billecart-Salmon Brut
    Ramey 2014 RR Chard – time to drink up, but could be tasty
    Vine & Supply 2013 Pinot Noir (same comment as Ramey)
    Tablas Creek 2015 Patelin
    Pratsch 2015 Griiner Veltliner
    Pahlmeyer 2014 Jayson Chardonnay (2nd label of Pahlmeyer – typical rich Napa Chard)
    Vermillion 2015
    Volunteer 2015
    Kanzler Vineyard 2014 Pinot Noir

  7. Totally agree with the two posts above. Saying “premium champagne” and “Billecart-Salmon Brut” in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

    The vintage Taittinger they listed was false advertising we called LAX on after tasting it. The manager admitted they ran out in week two and did not have any plans to bring a vintage back.

  8. @Lucky, minor typo, if you care to correct: It should be Grüner Veltliner. I thought I would let you know before someone jumps on it! 😉

  9. I tend to do my wine drinking on the ground in the lounge as opposed to in the air as most wines in flight taste “off” due to the lack of humidity in the cabin. That said, the list of wines here is very solid. The Flagship First Dining wines are great – especially the Pomerol. Some of the wines are weak contenders like the Educated Guess and Texbook Napa wines, but I’ve had lots worse in lounges and onboard. Agree with @pdxparse. I’m actually impressed but I must confess, I too, do not know who Bobby and Des are….

  10. Just used the lounges in ORD and MIA. Gotta say these lounges are top notch. And so out of character for what American has become. I even got to fly on a 757 yesterday. What a vestige of what was once a great airline.

  11. It only makes sense for AA to downgrade wines in the Flagship Lounge. It is now a Business Class lounge, no longer a First. First Dining handles the limited F customers. Business and Sapphire now get FL access.

  12. Billecart-Salmon is a somewhat polarizing Champagne house. Wine nerds tend to generally love this small-production producer as their house style is to harvest early for greater acid structure, lower alcohol, elegance and balance combined with a long, slow cold fermentation. The bigger houses will have more fruit, toast/vanilla from oak and almost certainly more alcohol. Whatever house style you prefer a matter of personal taste.

    As Hal and Dan noted, their Rose is perhaps the benchmark in Champagne. I personally prefer their Rose to the various Rose’s from Krug, Cristal, La Grande Dame, Grande Siecle, etc. Although any would be a fine choice!

  13. Kanzler Pinot Noir 2015 is a great wine – retails at $50 and got 90+ points on many publications.
    I think it’s hard to beat QR business class in terms of red wine selection though – sometimes they feature Chateau’s that cost 80-90 usd.

  14. The wine selection is reasonable, for such high volume lounges to be fair.

    I am gutted that they decided to switch out the Bollinger for Delamotte, as I much prefer the Bolly, but at least they sticking with something drinkable (unlike what they still serve as PDF’s on board – ugh).

  15. Someone needs to be teaching the AA cabin crew in first what champagne is and not try to pass off prosecco or California sparkling wine as champagne. they have no clue and it has happened every time I have been on their flights domestically.

  16. Just enjoyed Flagship dining at LAX yesterday, and they poured the Bollinger non-vintage reserve champagne. Perhaps it was leftover and they are using it up before switching to another, but we certainly enjoyed it! The food was excellent, too, particularly the just-cooked-enough sea scallop appetizer and the lobster pad thai.

  17. This is a big win overall for American and for wine drinkers in the lounge. Thoughtfully selected wine — and different in each location — is something that has really set the Centurion lounges apart for me, and something that I am happy to see American doing in their Flagship lounges. I’d love to see them follow suit in their hub Admirals Clubs that don’t have a Flagship (looking at you, DCA), something to get us past the driveling fare that we wine lovers are accustomed to in airports.

  18. The PDB sparkling wine is totally undrinkable. (What’s worse is that I always forget and request one anyway, which I then drink as I wince at the horror of it.)

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