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HomeBest Sommelier around the world 2014

Best Sommelier around the world 2014

Simone Ragusa, Best Sommelier of Switzerland 2014

After a beautiful and tough competition in Lugano, letâs celebrate the three finalists and the winner !
¨On the photo¨ : in the centre Simone Ragusa "Best Sommelier of Switzerland 2014¨, on the left, RÃza Nahaboo "Vice Best Sommelier of Switzerland 2014⨠and on the right, AurÃlien Blanc " 3rd finalist 2014 of TrophÃe Margaux Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre "Meilleur Sommelier de Suisse 2014" 
Within the frame of the 19th contest organized by ASSP at Hôtel Splendide Royal in Lugano, the 3 finalists and the winner are :
"Best Sommelier of Switzerland" 2014: Simone Ragusa, sommelier at Hôtel Lido Seegarten inLugano
"Vice Best Sommelier of Switzerland" 2014, RÃza Nahaboo, sommelier at Hôtel des Alpes in Orsières Â« Third finalist" 2014, AurÃlien Blanc, sommelier at Hôtel Baur au Lac in Zurich.
The winner received the TrophÃe Margaux Bel Air-Marquis dâAligre Cup, Meilleur Sommelier de Suisse 2014, offered by Paolo et Brigitta Wiicht. 
Certificates and  Bragard aprons went to the 3 successful sommeliers. 
After a preselection and a semi final with 15 candidates, the three best ones had to perform in front of an audience and demontrate their skills and knowledge throughout the tests of the final at Hôtel Splendide Royal of Lugano. 
The panel of judges, with Swiss and international experts in the vitivinicultural field,  (famous sommeliers, Ånologists, producers) conducted perfectly the tests, under the presidency of Paolo Basso, president of the technical committee. Paolo Basso is the Swiss sommelier who earned the most prestigious titles : Best Sommelier of the World 2013, Best Sommelier of Europe 2010, Best Sommelier of Switzerland 1997.

Great success for this national contest thanks to the national president Piero Tenca, responsible of the organisation, of finding sponsors. A fantastic job ensuring this noticeable achievement.

Srdjan Janjic â New Best Sommelier of Serbia

On two days, 31st October-1st November 2014, the Serbian sommelier association â SERSA- organized the 6th National sommelier competition to award the Best Sommelier of Serbia for 2014.

Competition was held in Zira hotel in Belgrade.
President of jury was Michèle Aström Chantôme (president of sommelier association of Morocco and secretary general of A.S.I.)Jury members were: Karina Tholin (pres ident of Sweden sommelier association) Annemarie Foidl (president of Austria sommelier association) and Tim Vollerslev (founder and vicepresident of Denmark sommelier association).

During the semifinal 14 candidates had to show their sommelier skills in the following disciplines :

-theoretical exam and blind tasting with written commentary
-decanting red wine 
-serving champagne

The three best candidates passed to final: Srdjan Janjic who works in Canada at Treasury Wine Estates (formerly Foster's Group), Vlada Stojanov, sommelier at Doukly restaurant, Belgrade, Serbia and certificated by International A.S.I. sommelier diploma in 2013 and Miloš Šeša, sommelier at Terasa restaurant Novi Sad, Serbia.

In the final they had 7 tasks to show thei r sommelier skills:

-    oral blind tasting of two wines and 5 spirits
-    food and wine matching
-    serving a magnum of champagne in to 24 glasses
-    decanting red wine
-    correcting a wine list
-    cigar knowledge
-    recommendation to the guest
-    surprise task given by president of jury

The best in final was Srdjan Janjic and he will represent Serbia in next A.S.I. World and European sommelier championships.

Second place : Vlada Stojanov, third : Miloš Šeša.

The competition was supported by domestic wineries and a few companies who are friends of SERSA:  Gorda Å ljivovica, Hotel Zira, Misaco Ltd., NS Promo Team, Gastromaster. Wineries who supported this competition: BaÄina, Matalj, RadovanoviÄ, Temet, Brothers RajkoviÄ, KovaÄeviÄ, AleksandroviÄ, Zvonko Bogdan, KiÅ¡, AleksiÄ, Budimir, Rubin, CiliÄ, Imperator, Belo Brdo, IvanoviÄ.

The Best Sommelier of Japan 2014

The Final of the Best Sommelier of Japan 2014 competition was held on October 16th, 2014 in the city of Fukuoka. An audience of some 700 people witnessed Hiroshi Ishida (Restaurant-I Keisuke Matsushima, Tokyo) winning the title of the Best Sommelier of Japan for the third time.
First runner-up, Akihiko Nosaka (K.O. Dining, Hong Kong), second runner-up, Makoto Iwabuchi (Château Tcc, Singapore)

This competition was also a qualifying trial for earning berth for the A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of Asia & Oceania which will be held later in 2015 in Hong Kong and both Hiroshi Ishida and Akihiko Nosaka will represent Japan.


Wines of Portugal - Japanese Sommelier of the Year 2014

âWines of Portugal Japanese Sommelier of the Year 2014â, first-ever co-organized competition by the Japan Sommelier Association and Wines of Portugal, the official partner of A.S.I., was held on October 7th, 2014 in Tokyo.10 semi-finalists competed in the Final in front of an audience.
The winner, Atsuhide Hoshiyama (Yakiniku-house Rengaya, Hyogo) will conduct 4 training masterclasses throughout 2015 and will participate in the one-week wine tour to Portugal wi th 4 other finalists.


Antoine Lehebel,  Best Sommelier of Belgium 2014-2015

On Sunday 12th  October the final of the Contest of the Best Sommelier of Belgium 2014-2015 took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Brussels, and was won by Antoine Lehebel, sommelier of Restaurant La Villa Lorraine, Uccle.
The competition was organized by the Gilde des Sommeliers de Belgique, the Club Gastronomique Prosper Montagné and the association VVS (Vereniging Vlaamse Sommeliers). 
The three finalists were : Benoît Couderé (Restaurant De Karmeliet à Brugge), Antoine Lehebel (Restaurant La Villa Lorraine, Uccle), Jasper Van Papeghem (Hostellerie Lâ Esco - Wetteren). Those three sommeliers, one French speaking, two Dutch speaking, had been selected among 11 semi-finalists, three weeks befo re. 
The final was in front of an audience, and 15 judges, national and international experts and journalists specialized in wine had to evaluate the three sommeliers through high level tests including a tasting of 3 wines and 6 spirits, lthecorrection of a wine list with errors, matching food and wine, serving a champagne, decanting a red wine, answering a question in a foreign language. 
The Gilde des Sommeliers de Belgique being the only national official association active member of the Association de Sommellerie Internationale -A.S.I.- the winner will have the opportunity of representing Belgium in the next A.S.I. Europe and World Sommeliers Contests.

Luis Antonio Morones, Best Sommelier of Mexico 2014

In septembre 2014,  the Asociación de Sommeliers Mexicanos AC (ASM),  organized for the second time the national Contest for Sommeliers, with the support  of the Four Seasons Hotel Ciudad de México. The winner was Luis Antonio Morones, Head Som melier of âThe Palmâ from the Group Presidente. Second, Crescencio González, Sommelier of âEl Desafueroâ in Puebla, and third, Steve Ayón, independent Sommelier.
The ASM has a goal : to spread the culture of wine with honesty and responsability by professionalizing the sommelierâs job and enhance the image of sommellerie.
The candidates of the contest are all profesional sommeliers with an experience of one year at least. They are also active members of the ASM. 
Letâs point out that this contest is supported by the Alianza Panamericana de Sommeliers (APAS) and the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (A.S.I.) that gathers the national associations of sommeliers around the world (55 countries including Mexico, represented by the AMS). 
The Final took place in the Grand Salon of the Four Seasons Hotel. After a written questionnaire on the history of wine, viticulture, wine making, vitivinicultural geography, the job of sommelier⦠practical tests like decanting, service of a sparkling wine, profesional tasting, correction of errors on a winelist and surprise questionsâ¦allowed the judges to decide on the final score.

Ruben Kwakman, Best Sommelier of the Netherlands 2014

On Monday 22nd September, the Dutch Association of Sommeliers (NGS) organized, in partnership with importer Wijnkooperij De Lange and the Restaurant Valuas, its biennial contest, the Henriot Trophy, to award the title of Best Sommelier of the Netherlands.
This time the NGS was the guest of Marcel and Erik Swaghoven at the Restaurant Valuas* in Venlo.
The jury consisted of: René van Heusden (head of the jury, writer and journalist for the magazine Perswijn); William Wouters (former president of the Belgian sommelier, working for Luis Pato Wines, Portugal); Cees He lder (former owner and Chef of the Restaurant Parkheuvel*** in Rotterdam); Magda van de Rijst (wine journalist and author of various books about wine); Roy Pelgrim (Master-sommelier of the Restaurant Cordial* in Oss); Bob Jurjens (sommelier of the Restaurant De Leest*** in Vaassen); Martijn Verkerk (owner of import company Wijnkoperij Smaragd Wijnen).

The participants showed their knowledge and value through four tests:

-    a tricky theoritical exam and a tasting;
-    a practical part including food and wine pairings;
-    an oral comment of two wines;
-    decanting of a great wine.

Further to these semi-finals, the three best candidatesâJob Seuren (Librije), Lotte Wolf (Pure C) and Ruben Kwakman (Parkheuvel)âhad to fulfill high-end tests and fiercely faught for the title in the finals held in front of an audience. Ruben Kwakman ranged first and will hold the title of Best Sommelier of the Netherlands for two years.

Ruben Kwakman (Restaurant Parkheuvel in Rotterdam), winner of the 2014 Henriot Trophy, receives from WOSA (Wines of South Africa) a journey to South Africa and qualifies for the preselection of the A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the Word (Mendoza 2016) and/or of Europe (Vienna 2017).


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