There has been a number of memorable food & wine events during the last few years but the recent meeting that took place on the 3rd and 4th July was something truly historic. It was attended by all 14 winners of the Meilleurs Sommeliers du Monde competition - a contest organized by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale since 1969 - who met together at the Moët & Chandon estate, Epernay, France, with the support of S.Pellegrino and Nespresso.
The focus of the meeting was to decide how to bring, once again, the important work of sommeliers into the public eye. For years the sommelier’s role has been to know all about wines, the best taste, labels and how to match the varied flavors of wine with food. The profession then developed with the sommelier in charge of other liquids: water, beer, tea, coffee and spirits. Sommelliers retaking center stage was the main reason why the world's best sommeliers met in the heart of the Champagne region, all of them committed to enhancing their profession and the important role of the Sommelier.
From France Armand Melkonian (the first winner, in 1969), Jean-Luc Pouteau (1983), Jean-Claude Jambon (1986), Serge Dubs (1989), Philippe Faure-Brac (1992), Olivier Poussier (2000); Italians Piero Sattanino (1971), Giuseppe Vaccarini (1978), Enrico Bernardo (2004); Shinya Tasaki from Japan (1995); Markus del Monego (1998) from Germany; Andreas Larsson (2007) from Sweden; Gerard Basset (2010) from United Kingdom and from Switzerland, Paolo Basso (2013).
A two-day summit, rich in discussion, exchange of ideas and projects for the future, interrupted only by the lovely Le& dinner created by the three-star Chef Yannick Alléno. Here’s a round up of some of the conclusion from the meeting.
First of all, the Club des Meilleurs Sommeliers du Monde highlighted the mission they set out in 2011, when the Club was born. They want to share the culture of sommelleries, transmit it to new generation and share with passionate people and professionals around the world. They also aim to increase skill exchanges, to work with chefs and restaurant owners, to collaborate with wine makers, to support conviviality, to become opinion leaders and to anticipate new trends.
Keeping this in mind, they set four strategic goals for 2014 – 2017: they want to become the international reference for worldwide Sommellerie, to be more present and involved in training new professionals, to communicate better their work and activities and to create a great event that’s able to attract media interest.
In order to achieve these goals, the Club took into consideration a plan of actions to be studied furthermore and events that could be organized, starting from the idea to nominate an Ambassador (or General secretary) that will enable direct contact with the Club, and to work towards certification and recognition of sommelier professionals around the world.
Moreover, they considered efforts to be done in order to improve awareness about Sommellerie and to better the Club’s communication towards passionate people, media and professionals: a website and a YouTube channel could be created and a book on the Meilleurs Sommeliers du Monde, their profile and biography may also be published.
The 'Fab 14' also debated the creation of a huge event with a ranking of 100 best wine producers worldwide that would preferably be organized in line with the Expo 2015 in Milan. And the forming of an extraordinary wine and gastronomy event for charity, inviting important critics and media.
The discussions ended with a magnificent lunch in the middle of nature at Château de Saran, another wonderful Moët & Chandon estate. Here, the Meilleurs Sommeliers du Monde celebrated the exceptional occasion of their meeting together with all 20 international selected attendees of the summit: a group of journalists and a number of young talented sommeliers such as Jon Arvid Rosengren (presently European champion), Julia Scavo (finalist of the same competition), Loic Avril (Best Young Sommelier of 3 starred Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, UK) and Alberto Santini (sommelier of 3 starred Osteria del Pescatore restaurant in Canneto sull’Oglio, Italy). The lunch also marked the 45th anniversary of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale.
We’ll keep you updated on the next big steps of the ‘Fab 14’ as soon as they’re revealed.