Pascaline Lepeltier, France’s hopeful to be crowned the Best Sommelier in the World, took fourth place in the contest, which was held in Paris.

Raimonds Tomsons, from Latvia, took the top spot with Nina Jensen, of Denmark, in second place and Reeze Choi, from China, in third. Lepeltier failed to qualify for the final, coming fourth.

This year, 17 hopefuls sniffed and savoured their way through this famously difficult contest, which included blind tastings, tasting of a covered wine so the aroma was effectively removed, a written exam, and a test in front of the judges to determine the candidates’ technical skills. This saw candidates faced with a half-bottle of 2015 Château Phélan Ségur which was at the wrong temperature, an ice bucket and four very impatient customers waiting to be served, a problem they had three minutes to solve. Other challenges included finding errors in a price list, guessing the bottle from a series of images, finding the missing ingredient in a cocktail and designing a vegan menu to accompany non-alcoholic drinks from around the world.

“I can’t believe it – I’m extremely happy,” said Raimonds Tomsons, adding that he thought not growing up in wine culture was “an advantage”. “We have no history and our minds are freer,” he said.

Pascaline Lepeltier agreed. “In France, we are spoiled children. The new countries that discover wine have such a thirst to learn, to share, they have this incredible enthusiasm and they go very fast,” she told AFP.

Looking to continue your journey through the world of fine dining and wine? Explore our Michelin Guide articles.


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