Amateur Sommelier of the Year 2010

Specials Specials

Congratulations to all of the hundreds of people who took part in the Academy of Food and Wine's Amateur Sommelier of the Year competition, hosted on decanter.com in association with Champagne Piper-Heidsieck.

The judges said the quality of the entries was extremely impressive but in the end Daniel Brown from London emerged as a clear winner for his imaginative matching of wines with dishes in the difficult final task, a virtual role play.

Daniel won an inscribed silver goblet, a silver-collared decanter, and dinner for two at the Michelin-starred Texture in London.

Below you will find the full Amateur Sommelier of the Year competition. Details of next year's competition will be sent to all previous competitors at the beginning of 2011, and will be posted on decanter.com

Amateur Sommelier of the Year was run in conjuction with the annual Sommelier of the Year competition.

Round one - the questions [with answers]
Round two - the virtual sommelier challenge
Round 1 - the questions

Where are the following appellations? Gigondas, Chateauneuf du Pape, Vacqueyras
Southern Rhône

Which one of these chateaux is not in St Emilion? Ausone, Dassault, Figeac, L'Evangile
L'Evangile

What is the minimum temperature in degrees Celsius that must be reached before a successful Eiswein or Icewine can be made?
Minus 8 degrees celsius

Where are Rkatsiteli and Saperavi found?
Rkatsiteli and Saperavi are two important grape varieties grown in Georgia and the former Soviet Republics.

What is the grape for a Barolo?
Nebbiolo

In which Spanish region would you find a Manzanilla wine?
Andalusia

Which of the following is not from California? Screaming Eagle, Andrew Will, Marcassin, Domaine Drouhin
Andrew Will, Domaine Drouhin

In which town is the French Laundry?
Yountville, Napa, California

Who was the first Decanter Man of the Year?
Serge Hochar

Name five of the wine regions of the old West Germany
1)Ahr 2)Baden 3)Franken 4)Hessische Bergstrass 5)Mittelrhein 6)Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 7)Nahe 8)Pfalz 9)Rheingau 10)Rheinhessen 11)Wurttemberg

Rioja has three main regions - what are they?
1) Rioja Baja 2)Rioja Alavesa 3)Rioja Alta

What is the grape for a sparkling Prosecco?
Prosecco

In which state are these wine regions? Hunter Valley and Orange
New South Wales

Max Schubert was the founder of Grange. How many successors has he had?
3

Which were the first two Argentinian regions to be awarded DO status?
Lujan de Cuyo, San Rafael

Up to how many grams per litre of sugar may a Brut Champagne contain?
15

Which three countries are Europe's biggest wine producers, in descending order of volume?
France, Italy and Spain

In which European country was Phylloxera discovered?
England

How many litres does a jeroboam of Champagne contain?
3 litres (4 bottles).

When a wine is said to be 'acetic', what does it mean?
The wine is turning to, or has turned to vinegar.



Round 2 - the virtual sommelier challenge


The Virtual Challenge is deceptively simple: all you have to do is make the wine choices for a table of virtual diners. The party of four have all chosen different starters, main courses and desserts. They intend to do themselves well, with a glass each to go with their starters, two bottles for the mains, and a half bottle or individual glasses of dessert wine to go with the puddings.

It’s a Saturday night in April 2010 and George de Canter and his wife Julie are taking their friends, Sally and Brian Piper out to dinner. It’s Sally and Brian’s 25th wedding anniversary, and they are willing to push the boat out. None of them are driving as they’ve booked a taxi to take them to and collect them from their favourite restaurant.

Tonight, while money is no object, George isn’t someone who will buy the most expensive wines. He appreciates intelligent, unusual choices – preferably something he hasn’t tried before and wines that will complement the food the foursome have ordered.

George appreciates big flavours. To start he has chosen the terrine of rabbit, wood pigeon and foie gras, followed by the loin of venison for his main course. George will finish off his meal with a selection of English cheeses. He particularly enjoys blue cheese.

His wife Julie prefers a lighter style of food and wine, although she doesn’t like wines that taste too oaky. To start she has chosen smoked salmon, followed by the pan roast cod and will finish with a hot chocolate fondant with praline ice cream.

Brian has chosen the warm mackeral escabeche to start, followed by the seared breast of duck. He will finish this off with a delicious sticky toffee pudding.
Sally, Brian’s wife, is a vegetarian, although doesn’t insist on vegetarian wines!  To start she has ordered the shallot tart, followed by the pithivier of chestnuts, and for dessert she will have the clean-tasting passion fruit sorbet.

The diners have been waiting in the lounge, enjoying a glass of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne. You are the sommelier, and the four want to start their meal with a glass of something suitable for each of their starters. You can assume that this restaurant will serve any of its wines by the glass if necessary. All the diners ask is that each of the wines must complement their starter.

For the main course, the diners want to order two bottles of wine, to be shared as the sommelier advises. Again choose wines that will match the foods and that will give our gourmets something to discuss.

To go with their dessert, the diners have asked the sommelier to select either a half bottle of dessert wine, or individual glasses to go with their choices.

Select your wines, and describe in not more than 500 words in total why you have made the choices you have. Good luck!


The winner will be the person who, in the opinion of the Amateur Sommelier of the Year competition panel of expert judges, makes the most imaginative and informed choices and gives a concise and clear explanation as to their reasons

  • Wine list
  • Menu