The Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) has selected Matthieu Longuere, head sommelier at the Michelin-starred La Trompette in London, to represent the UK in the Best Sommelier of Europe competition.
Longuere beat fellow sommeliers James Payne of the Ardeonaig Hotel & Restaurant in Perthshire and Christopher Delalonde of Sarment Wines, London, to go through to the biannual Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Europe contest, which will be held Strasbourg, France, in November.
The three sommeliers, who have each previously won the UK Sommelier of the Year title, had to complete a detailed questionnaire testing their wine knowledge, describe and identify two wines, complete a food and wine matching exercise and open, decant and serve a bottle of Château Montrose 1999 in five glasses.
Judge Gérard Basset, the 2010 Catey Special Award winner and current holder of the World's Best Sommelier title, said: "A very high level of expertise was displayed by the three candidates during the tough UK selection. Matthieu proved to be the most complete sommelier and if he can carry on and even slightly step up his preparation he has a great chance of bringing back gold for Great Britain."
Longuere added: "The win comes as a real surprise as the competitors were all strong. I'm delighted to be representing the AFWS and the UK in Strasbourg. It's wonderful."
Now in its 12th year, the Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Europe is organised by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI). In 2008 the competition was won by UK representative Isa Bal, sommelier at Heston Blumenthal's three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire.
By Kerstin Kühn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs