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New York sommelier named ‘best in the world’

Aldo Sohm, sommelier and wine director the Michelin three-star restaurant Le Bernardin in New York, has been named Best Sommelier in the World 2008.

The Austrian-born Sohm, who was named Best Sommelier in America last year, is the first-ever representative from the US to take the title.

He beat 14 other semifinalists in the competition, including Spain’s Roger Viusà and Manuel Moreira, fomr Portugal. The finals of the competition, organised by the World Sommelier Association, took place at the Cavalieri Hilton hotel in Rome.

According to the organisers, Sohm displayed ‘flawless knowledge and talent’ in the competition´s complex examinations, including blind wine tasting and written exams on subjects including grape varieties, cellar technology and different types of coffees, teas and beers.

Sohm was given 45 minutes to complete the final part of the competition, which included correcting an intentionally faulty wine list, pairing foods and wines, demonstrating guest service in a simulated restaurant setting, performing Champagne service, decanting wines and giving specific cigar recommendations with after-dinner drinks.

‘There were 10 years of intensive competition work that lead to this point,’ said Sohm.

The 36-year-old who was born and raised in Inzing, Austria, was a four-time winner of the Best Sommelier in Austria competition before he moved to New York to work as the beverage director of the Austro-themed restaurants Wallsé, Blaue Gans and Café Sabarsky, as well as the European-oriented Thor.

  • The August issue of Decanter magazine also contains a feature on the UK’s Best Sommelier competition – out 2 July.

    Written by Darrel Joseph

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