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Romain Henry is Sud de France' sommelier of the year

Published:  08 September, 2009

Romain Henry has won the inaugural Sud de France UK Sommelier of the Year competition to reward the sommelier with the best knowledge of Languedoc-Roussillon wines.

Henry, aged 26, from Gordon Ramsay's Maze restaurant won the prize as part of the Sud de France festival that is currently running.

Sud de France spokesperson Elodie Le Dréan said: "The judging panel was particularly impressed by Romain's ability to engage with his audience, his confidence, and his in-depth knowledge of the wines of the south of France."

The winner's prize is a three-day luxury trip for two to Languedoc-Roussillon, including 4-star hotel accommodation, a tailor-made tasting tour of selected premium vineyards within the region, and a gourmet dinner at London's Hibiscus restaurant. 

The Sud de France UK Sommelier of the Year award is supported by the regional council of Languedoc-Roussillon, plus members of the UK wine and restaurant trade, and press.

The judging panel included Tamlyn Currin (journalist and contributor to, Frédéric Grappe (owner of wine importer Dynamic Vines), Anthony Moss (Research and Development Director, Wine and Spirits Education Trust), Guillaume Siard (owner of London wine bar and restaurant La Trouvaille) and Stefan Gorda (head sommelier, Hotel du Vin, Bristol).

Entrants had to complete a preliminary questionnaire about the regional characteristics of Languedoc-Roussillon wines, and those selected to go through to the semi-finals then took part in an event on September 7th, held at central London's Maison de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon, testing competitors' practical skills and knowledge.

Semi-finals candidates took part in a blind tasting and had to make food and wine matching recommendations; the top three candidates (Romain Henry, Rebecca Skinner of Green & Blue Wines and Marc-Andrea Levy of Gordon Ramsay's Murano restaurant) went through to the final, compèred by UK wine writer Charles Metcalfe, where they were tested on correcting errors on a wine list, service, and recommending wine for a specific audience/occasion.