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Top UK sommeliers ready for battle

The 12 finalists who will compete for the title Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2015 have been announced ahead of the final stage of the competition next month.

Tobias Brauweiler of Hakkasan, one of the 12 finalists in this year’s competition. Photo credit: Steve Dunlop

The final group comprises last year’s runner up Tanguy Martin from Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest, and Mathias Camilleri of Medlar restaurant in London, who won this year’s Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier Competition.

They will be joined by winners of the five regional heats held last week in Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, London and Brighton, together with the next five highest-scoring candidates.

The sommeliers who made this cut are:

Arnaud Bardary, Maze by Gordon Ramsay, London – 2015 regional runner-up

Ladislav Basta, the Kitchin, Edinburgh – 2015 regional runner-up

Romain Bourger, the Vineyard at Stockcross – Wales & South West Sommelier of the Year

Tobias Brauweiler, Hakkasan, London – London Sommelier of the Year

Zigmars Grinbergs, Hotel du Vin Brighton – South East of England Sommelier of the Year

David Kubler, the Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu, Hampshire – 2015 regional runner-up

Olivier Marie, Coq d’Argent, London – 2015 regional runner-up

Laurent Richet, Restaurant Sat Bains – North of England Sommelier of the Year

Stuart Skea, Champany Inn, Linlithgow, West Lothian – Scottish Sommelier of the Year

Niels Sluiman, Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham – 2015 regional runner-up

The 12 sommeliers will now head to London on 8 June, where they will carry out three challenges before the final three will compete in the grand final that afternoon in front of a judging panel chaired by Gerard Basset MW MS.

All finalists will receive a trip to Moët & Chandon for an in-depth tour and technical tasting with the Champagne house’s winemaking team. The winner will receive a “money can’t buy” mentoring programme from Moët, as well as an educational trip to either the Rhône, Loire, Rioja or Navarra paid for by on-trade supplier Matthew Clark. They will also receive a Coravin system, engraved Riedel decanter and collection of Riedel glasses.

Outlining the decision to broaden the focus of this year’s competition with an extended emphasis on the regional rounds, Nick Scade, chairman of the event’s organiser, the Academy of Food & Wine Service, commented: “We had an overwhelming response to our call for entries and I am delighted to say the quality of all the contestants across the UK has been outstanding and the regional results were at a very high level.”

Elsa Corbineau, marketing director at competition partner Moët & Chandon, highlighted the house’s long association with this event, as well as the World and European Sommelier contests, “which means we see some of the highest levels of sommellerie around the globe.”

Commenting on this particular competition, she remarked: “The knowledge and ability of the UK entrants is of an extremely high standard – we are very happy to be supporting the Academy of Food & Wine Service in promoting this important aspect of the industry and wish the finalists the very best of luck for 8 June.”

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