Ruinart 2022 UK sommelier challenge winner announced
After a highly competitive blind tasting, Mark Ron Patana from Medlar has been revealed as the winner of Ruinart’s sixth UK edition of its sommelier challenge.
The challenge, which took place at Iris Studios in London on 20 June, was between the 25 finalists who had been selected from the entries. The candidates were chosen by a judging panel, comprising of Ruinart’s chef de cave Frédéric Panaïotis, Ronan Sayburn MS and Roxane Dupuy (winner of the Swiss 2018 Ruinart Sommelier Challenge).
In addition to the blind tasting competion, Panaïotis gave a masterclass on how the properties of cork can influence the ageing of Champagne, with particular focus on the newly-released 2010 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.
Patana started his sommelier journey in January 2020 at Core by Clare Smith. Reflecting on his success in the competition, he said: “I’m overwhelmed: I didn’t expect this to happen. I drew on all my experience so far for the blind tasting test, and with the food pairing suggestions – I really wanted to show that experience and who I am as a person. You have nothing to lose by taking part in this competition, and so much to gain.”
Panaïotis remarked: “The overall expertise of the participating Sommeliers was, as always, very high and Mark Ron Patana from Medlar did an amazing job at describing the four splendid Chardonnays…We’re honoured and excited to have him join the group of Ruinart Sommelier Challenge winners and are looking forward to welcoming him in Reims.”
As winner of the challenge, Patana will embark on a four-day trip around the Champagne region alongside winners from the 14 other countries where Ruinart runs the contest. There they will participate in a series of technical tastings hosted by Panaïotis and explore different aspects of the winemaking.
The runners up were Frédéric Monnery from Coravin and Faidon Dernikos from 67 Pall Mall.