Gerard Basset, owner of the Hotel Terravina in the New Forest, has been named the World’s Best Sommelier.

The Hotel du Vin founder was awarded the title having triumphed over 51 other contestants at a competition in Santiago, Chile.

Each finalist took on 40 minutes of practical tests including blind tasting, describing in detail four different wines and identifying eight spirits in three minutes.

Speaking after the event, Bassett said: “It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. In the end I just thought I’m going to enjoy it and make the judges happy, even if I don’t win.”

He will hold the title until the next competition, to be held in Tokyo, Japan in 2013.

By James Stagg, taken from Caterer Magazine

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