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Wines of Portugal reveals winners of annual sommelier competition

Published:  03 August, 2015

Wines of Portugal has announced the winners of its Wine Quest sommelier competition. First place went to Christophe Richelet of Taberna do Mercado with Maggie Mak of Maze by Gordon Ramsay named as runner up.

The Wine Quest initiative is designed to promote the diversity and versatility of Portuguese wines to the on-trade.

Seven sommeliers participated in this year's final, which took place at The Westbury Hotel in London. Each had already completed a Wine Academy day and a trip to Portugal accompanied by competition ambassadors and judges, Ronan Sayburn MS, Sarah Ahmed and Charles Metcalfe.

The finalists sat a multiple-choice exam, followed by a blind tasting, a food-matching assessment and a decanting test. They were then asked to select and present two wines each from their Portugal trip - one white and one red - to the judges.

A total of 100 points were available across all the challenges. Richelet narrowly won the challenge with 72.5 points out of 100 and was awarded the winning £2,000 prize. As runner up, Mak received £500 for her 72 points.

Sonia Vieira of Wines of Portugal commented: "We were very impressed by the presentations and selection of wines by all the entrants. We're delighted by the sommeliers' enthusiasm about Portuguese wines, and their newfound knowledge of what Portugal has to offer."

The other sommeliers in the final were Jonathan Kleeman of The Ritz; Ben Van de Meutter of Butlers Wharf Chop House; Nicola Perrone of Maze by Gordon Ramsay; Guillaume Mahaut of The Jugged Hare; and Donald Edwards, who is currently freelance.

The inagural competition last year was won by Dorian Guillon, assistant head sommelier at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester.