Gerard Basset was officially crowned Decanter's 2013 Man of the Year at an intimate celebration in London last night.
L-R: Jancis Robinson, Gerard Basset & Sarah Kemp
Family members, friends and colleagues from across the wine world gathered together to pay tribute to the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, OBE and hotelier.
The ceremony, held at Decanter headquarters at London’s Blue Fin Building, saw Basset collect his award in front of wife Nina and son Romané plus a host of world-class wine professionals including Xavier Rousset MS, Annette Scarf MW, Stephen Brook, Steven Spurrier, Nicholas Clerc MS, Laura Rhys MS, Lynne Sherriff MW.
Guests at the event enjoyed gourmet canapés and 2002 Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs, donated by Pol Roger.
Introducing the award, Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp said: ‘This award was created in 1984 to recognise individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the world of wine. The names on the list are the heroes of our time.
‘The award is only given to those who made a difference to the world of wine – and whose influence lives on. Tonight Decanter honours you for the role you have played in ensuring that wine is at the heart of the restaurant industry.’
Basset was presented with his Decanter Man of the Year trophy by former winner Jancis Robinson OBE MW.
On formally accepting the title Basset thanked his friends, colleagues and family, before planting the official plaque with son Romané in the Decanter Man of the Year garden.
Born in St-Etienne, France, Basset left school with no particular qualifications to learn the ropes as a chef, restaurant manager and sommelier in the world of hospitality.
He joined Chewton Glen, the luxury Hampshire spa-hotel in 1988, rising to head sommelier and then spent the next decade accumulating numerous awards and diplomas including Best Sommelier of Europe, The World’s Best Sommelier, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine and started his own hotel and restaurant, Hotel du Vin, in 1994.
Basset has spent the last 20 years being heavily involved as a teacher, judge and inspiration with a host of aspiring and established wine professionals.
Also in attendance was chef Raymond Blanc OBE who described Basset as ‘one of the world’s greatest authorities on wine. Gerard is credited with changing perceptions of wine service worldwide, while training and mentoring a generation of young sommeliers’.
Basset is the 30th person to be crowned Decanter Man of the Year since the award began in 1984.
Written by Georgina Hindle