The wonderful Langedoc-Rousillon region of France stretches from the Rhone Valley in the East to the Spanish border in the South West. Encompassing thousands of years of history it is home to Carcassonne, Montpelier and Nimes, and at 700,000 acres it is France’s largest wine producing region.
With over 30 grape varieties grown across differing terrain producing different results this is not a region to be sniffed at… unless you are a sommelier! Well they do always insist on a big nostril full don’t they? Anyone who can hold all there is to know about this region’s grapes, wines and terrior is impressive in my book.
It’s no surprise then that is was not I but our Assistant Sommelier Tamas Czinki who entered the Sud de France UK Sommelier of the year 2014 competition.
Hungarian Tamas joined the Northcote team at the end of 2013 and has quickly endeared himself to staff and guests alike with his great enthusiasm and fantastic knowledge. Softly spoken and unassuming he delivers incredible customer service time after time, whilst also undertaking the lesser discussed and less glamorous sommelier’s tasks of shifting hundreds of bottles of wine around a cold and lonely cellar and fervently studying to increase his knowledge.
This years competition, the 6th, like every year tests the specific knowledge of wines from the Langedoc-Rousillon region commencing with a written test to whittle it down to those who have really done their homework.
The final, which Tamas eased into, took place in front of an audience where the sommeliers had to match wines to dishes created for the event, carry out blind tasting and finally they were tested to see how good their service skills are. Apparently pouring a magnum of sparkling wine equally in to a set number of glasses without being able to go back and top up any of them, really isn’t so hard but I do only have our sommelier team’s opinion on this...
The competition judges were Ronan Sayburn MS (Ronan Sayburn Academy), Andrew Catchpole (Imbibe Magazine) and last year’s winner Adam Pawlowski. Some of you will know the name. Yes, he is our Head Sommelier but please I won’t hear of there being any favouritism towards his deputy Tamas in the final as I’m pretty sure a blind tasting can only be either right or wrong as can the equal serve trick. I’m sure all those tasting sessions together might’ve helped though.
Tamas’s knowledge of this large and difficult region shone through to earn him the title of Sud de France UK Sommelier of the Year 2014.
Santé Tamas, Gratulálok from all the team at Northcote!