What do Superman, Spider-Man and Flying Man have to do with wine? The power of these superheroes has given rise to terms such as Super Seconds, Climbing Thirds and Flying Fifths, which refer to ambitious chateaux in Bordeaux that perform above their quality ranking. The terms second, third and fifth rankings refer to the five-tier Grand Cru Classe classification structure, which was introduced in Bordeaux 162 years ago.
In 1855, about 60 Left Bank chateaux were identified as consistently commanding the highest prices in the market. In recent years, the price gap between the five first growths – Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Haut-Brion and Margaux – and their lower-tier neighbours has grown wider. Thus, the term Super Seconds was coined for second-growth chateaux, or those that possess the qualities of a second growth, which is nearing the prices and prestige of the five first growths.
There are countless definitions of Super Seconds. Which chateaux should or shouldn’t be included? Does a wine have to be ranked a second growth to qualify? However, nearly all the professionals and critics agree that the four Bordeaux wines Singapore Airlines rotates on select flights in First Class definitively make the cut as Super Seconds. Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande are classified as second growths – and in many vintages, they rival the quality of their higher-ranked, first-growth neighbours.
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To secure allocation and ensure the provenance of these top Bordeaux, Singapore Airlines purchases en primeur (futures) before the wines are released. Enjoy the 2004 Chateau Cos d’Estournel on your London or Paris trip with steak or a red meat-based dish; or the 2007 Chateau Rauzan-Segla on a flight to New York City or Tokyo with stir-fried chicken or duck breast.
– TEXT BY JEANNIE CHO LEE
PHOTOS: 123RF.COM, SUPPLIED
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.