Gymkhana’s Radosav wins Sud de France sommelier contestBy Darren Smith
Valentin Radosav, head sommelier at Michelin-starred Gymkhana in London’s Mayfair, has won the 2016 Sud de France Sommelier Competition.
Rodosav was announced as the winner of the competition following a final event which took place on 4 October at the Maison de la Région Occitanie/Pyrénées – Méditerranée in central London.
The competition, now in its eighth year, was created to find the most knowledgeable sommelier on Sud de France wines in the UK.
Gymkhana, which retained its one Michelin star in the 2017 Michelin Guide unveiled this week, featured on the wine list ratings website Wine List Confidential with a strong score of 90.9/100.
During a morning semi-final on 4 October, eight candidates were tasked with completing a written questionnaire, a blind tasting, and a food and wine pairing recommendation. Three of the candidates progressed through to the final in the afternoon.
The three finalists – Valentin Radosav of Gymkhana, Stéphane Favreau of Belmond le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and Jonathan Griffin of The Dorchester – were then tested both practically and orally in front of the judging panel made up of six leading members of the wine industry.
These were: Ronan Sayburn MS (chairman of the competition), head of wine at 67 Pall Mall, Emma Roberts, director at Eviva Communications, wine writer Matt Walls, Geoffray Bénat, director at LVSO, Paul Green, head sommelier at Jascott’s, and wine consultant Karen Jenkins.
The finalist were scrutinised on many criteria, including their appearance, performance, customer approach and commercial awareness.
At the end of the afternoon, head judge Ronan Sayburn MS then presented winner Valentin Radosav with his prize – an all-inclusive, four-night trip to the Languedoc-Roussillon complete with personalised tasting tours of premium vineyards.
“I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Sud de France Sommelier Competition!” Radosav commented.
“I learnt so much and my knowledge and love of the Occitanie region has deepened considerably. The region’s producer are amongst the most innovative in the industry and I was really impressed by the exceptional quality of the wines that are now being made there.”
Isabelle Kanaan, executive director of Sud de France in London, added: “We’d like to say huge congratulations to Valentin Radosav, who in the judges’ opinion displayed exceptional knowledge of the Sud de France region and its wines.
“We are really pleased to have him as a new ambassador for the Sud de France brand in the wine trade, and to share his knowledge with others, both consumers and trade, and to raise awareness of this diverse and dynamic wine region.”
Previous winners of the Sud de France Sommelier Competition are as follows:
2015: Ana Maria Martinez Terol, assistant sommelier at Terra Vina
2014: Tamas Czinki, assistant sommelier at Northcote (now head sommelier at Northcote)
2013: Adam Pawlowski, head sommelier at Northcote
2012: Lionel Periner, assistant sommelier at La Trompette (now group beverage manager at The Lucky Onion)
2011: Stefan Neumann assistant sommelier at The Fat Duck (now head sommelier at Dinner).
2010: Sara Bachiorri, assistant head sommelier at The Glass House (now head sommelier at Chez Bruce)
2009: Romain Henry, head sommelier at Hibiscus
To view the full Gymkhana Wine List Confidential entry, including individual category scores and wine recommendations, click here.
To view from all 350+ Wine List Confidential entries click here.