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Clement Robert is Moët UK Sommelier of The Year 2013

Clement Robert is Moët UK Sommelier of The Year 2013

Following a closely contested final yesterday (28 May), Clement Robert, head sommelier at Medlar Restaurant, London, won the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2013.

Second was head sommelier at The Ritz, Tobias Brauweiler, with Kathrine Larsen of Zuma third.

The full day of competition at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park saw 15 quarter-finalists whittled down to six semi-finalists who then competed for three places in the final.

In front of a live audience, the three top sommeliers were put to the test with a blind tasting, a task involving correcting errors on a wine list and a food and wine matching exercise. Finally, the three were judged on the infamous perfect Champagne pour where they had seven minutes in which to pour a magnum of Moët & Chandon Rosé Champagne equally into 16 glasses without returning to any of them.

Winner Clement Robert, 27, from Normandy in France, took the title on his fifth year of trying - having been a finalist in 2012 and 2010. Following the announcement he said he felt a “sense of relief to win at last after attempting it many times. It is a dream come true.”

Clement spent five months preparing for the competition and confesses to enjoying pushing himself and keeping up-to-date with the wine world. He attended catering school in France for three years and joined Hotel du Vin at the age of 20 after which he went to Summer Lodge in Dorset where he worked with 2004 winner Eric Zwiebel, whom he describes as his mentor.

Chief judge and technical director of the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) Gerard Basset OBE, MS, MW and owner of Hotel TerraVina, Hampshire, said: “The competition this year was incredibly close but Clement’s Champagne pour won it for him. It was a confident performance from a very knowledgeable, competent sommelier who set a high standard all round.”

Now in its 34th year, the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year competition, organised by AFWS, seeks to find the best wine waiter or sommelier based on wine and drink expertise, ability to deal with customers, and front-of-house service skills.

Elsa Corbineau, marketing director for sponsor Moët & Chandon, said: “Clement Robert is a thoroughly deserved winner after a tough - and exciting - day of tasks, trials and tricky restaurant scenarios. As the long-term sponsor of both the European and World Sommelier competitions, we see the highest standards of sommellerie around the globe and the quality of entrants in the UK thoroughly lives up to these. The art of service and wine knowledge is increasingly important across the hospitality industry - something that we at Moët & Chandon are dedicated to supporting and promoting.”

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