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Kathrine Larsen wins UK Sommelier of the Year 2014

Published:  16 June, 2014

Kathrine Larsen MS has become the Academy of Food & Wine Service's Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2014 following an intense final at London's Mandarin Oriental Hotel last week.

Fat Duck sommelier Loic Avril was runner-up, with Tanguy Martin of Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire in third place.

Loic Avril did take home the Young Sommelier of the Year title, sponsored by The Wine Guild of the United Kingdom.

UK Sommelier of the Year 2014 Kathrine LarsenUK Sommelier of the Year 2014 Kathrine LarsenUK Sommelier of the Year 2014, Kathrine Larsen, pictured after a hard-fought final at London’s Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Larsen said winning was an "amazing feeling" and she felt like all her hard work had "paid off". "I have been studying wine for 10 years, and preparing for this competition has been very intense," she added.

It was Larsen's fourth time in the competition, last year she came third and received the Young Sommelier of the Year 2013 title.

The final saw 12 semi-finalists whittled down to the three who took part in the final, watched by a live audience. They completed a blind tasting, spotted errors on a wine list and answered a quick-fire question round as well as a restaurant scenario testing their ability to cope with customers under pressure. The competition ended with the Moët Champagne pour, in which the three finalists had seven minutes to pour a magnum of Champagne into 16 glasses without returning to any of the glasses.

"We were delighted with the high number and high quality of entries this year. The competition is very tough - Kathrine was a worthy winner, but Loic and Tanguy did incredibly well," said Nick Scade, chairman of the Academy of Food & Wine Service.

Formerly head sommelier at Zuma in London, Danish-born Larsen, 32, trained at one and two-star restaurants In Copenhagen. She moved to London in 2007 to work at Pont de la Tour and Orrery and is on sabbatical before announcing her next career move.

Chairman of the judging panel Ronan Sayburn MS said: "It was a very tight competition this year with just a few marks between all three of the finalists. But Kathrine was a worthy winner - her theoretical knowledge was particularly strong."

Larsen wins a trip to Maison Moët & Chandon to taste the Grand Vintage collections with chef de cave Benoît Gouez, followed by a gourmet dinner at Moët's Château de Saran. She took home a jeroboam of Champagne Moët & Chandon, an Amadeo decanter and Vinum glasses by Riedel Glassware, and a magnum of Domaine Boutinot La Cote Sauvage Cairanne.

She also receives the Boutinot bursary, which this year includes a study visit to Piedmont in Italy accompanied by last year's winner Clement Robert and Boutinot's master sommelier Nigel Wilkinson.

Loic Avril and Tanguy Martin were presented with a magnum of Champagne Moët & Chandon. All three receive a 12-month complimentary membership of The Wine Guild of the United Kingdom.