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Chaîne des Rôtisseurs GB announces the Gerard Basset Tasting Trophy

Published:  28 January, 2019

The British branch of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs has launched a new award for its Young Sommelier Competition in honour of Gerard Basset MS, MW, OBE, who lost his battle with cancer and passed away on 17 January.

The Gerard Basset Tasting Trophy will be given to the sommelier, aged 30 or under, who scores the highest marks in the blind tasting and food matching sections of the testing finals, which will take place at the Gaggenau showrooms, London, on 5 March. The results – and the trophy title – will be announced at an awards dinner at The Dorchester on Friday 22 March. The trophy will be presented by Gerard’s widow Nina.

“Gerard was not only a close personal friend, but also highly-committed professional member of the Chaîne, who gave so much of his time to head up the judging panels year after year, and also mentor so many young sommeliers as they honed their skills,” said Philip Evins, Bailli Délégué for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

“Therefore, it is fitting to establish a trophy in his name, to perpetuate his memory – and to honour his extraordinary tasting ability throughout his unique career. Gerard chaired the Young Sommelier judging panel for the past 11 years, ever since its inauguration in 2008, and was a legend to us all. He will be very sadly missed.”

The winner of the Young Sommelier UK title will go on to compete in the Chaîne’s International Finals in Seoul, South Korea in September, against sommeliers from other countries. Great Britain has experienced unprecedented success in this global competition, taking first or second place in 8 out of 10 years, due in no small part to Gerard Basset’s enthusiastic support and encouragement.

Nicknamed ‘The Nose’, Basset had the letters MS, MW and OBE among many after his name, and was the first person to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, MBA Wine Business and MSc from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine. He won the World Sommelier Championship in 2010, and was awarded an OBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to hospitality.

Earlier this month, a crowdfunding initiative to back the publication of Basset’s memoirs hit its £14,000 target within days.