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The Little Things: Virgin Atlantic's Champagne Obsession

July 14, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | ()

In the midst of the bustle of travel, it's all too easy to overlook the details. We're talking about special touches others have stressed over just so you can enjoy a unique experience, whether you know it or not. Every so often we'll highlight The Little Things like this, so now you will know.

The Little Thing: A dedication to serving Lanson Black Label champagne in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic.

You've just settled back in the leather seat, put your smartphone on "airplane mode," and flipped open the Upper Class in-flight menu. Before you can turn to the extensive list of options "from the bar" on this Virgin Atlantic flight (and yes, there is a real bar), a flight attendant sashays your way with a tray of bubbly.

It's a scene now so signature to Virgin Atlantic service, this stylish pour of Lanson Black Label Brut accompanied by a scarlet smile, but it hasn't always been that way.

The coupe-shape glass was first introduced onboard Virgin Atlantic flights with the revamp of the A330 bar in 2012, but the glass is now part of all Upper Class services regardless of aircraft type. The long, thin stem topped with a sultry bowl evokes the glamor of old Hollywood, and champagne bubbles look damned fine in it.

As for the champagne itself, Lanson Black Label Brut is French and produced in line with the laws for the use of the appellation "champagne." It's a non-vintage, or "NV" wine, meaning it is a blend of different vintages designed to produce a consistent taste, no matter the year.

Wine.com describes its specifics:

Black Label's brilliant color recalls the characteristic straw tones of the Pinot Noir, with glints of amber. It is lively in the flute, with a fine stream of persistent bubbles [ed note: ideal for aesthetic appeal in the Virgin Atlantic coupe glass]. Its fresh aromas combine the impression of vitality and spring-time scents, together with hints of toast and honey. On the palate, bouquets of ripe fruits and citrus create a sensation of opulence yet lightness

The champagne is such a part of the Virgin Atlantic brand that, during this summer's celebrations of the airline's 30th Anniversary, Richard Branson and CEO Craig Kreeger sent a bottle with thank you note to every employee of the airline.

At retail, each bottle averages $45, so it's not the most expensive nor the least; it falls into the same category as the likes of Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label and Piper-Heidsieck Brut Cuvee. Should you really crave that Upper Class experience on the ground, it's also not too difficult to buy a bottle or two of Lanson Black Label for an evening of travel reminiscing at home.

We recently flew as a guest of Virgin Atlantic for their Vivienne Westwood uniform launch, but all photos and opinions are completely our own.

[Photos: Jaunted]

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