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Alain Ducasse sommelier wins Wines of Portugal Sommelier Wine Quest

Wines of Portugal Sommelier Wine Quest winner Dorian Guillot, front, centre, with runners up Piotr Pietras (front, r) & Orsi Szentkiralyi (front, l)

Wines of Portugal Sommelier Wine Quest winner Dorian Guillon, front, centre, with runners up Piotr Pietras (front, r) & Orsi Szentkiralyi (front, l)

Assistant Head Sommelier at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester Dorian Guillon battled it out with 10 other graduates of Wines of Portugal’s Wine Academy to win the Sommelier Wine Quest yesterday.  Guillon picked up a cheque for £3000, while runners up Piotr Pietras (Maze by Gordon Ramsey) & Orsi Szentkiralyi (former sommelier, now Tasting Manager at Wotwine) each received cheques for £1000.

mulitple choice

The quest kicked off in April with a study day presented by Portuguese experts Joao Pires Master Sommelier, Charles Metcalfe and me.

Me and my cohort of commeliers pictured with Dao producers

Me and my cohort of sommeliers pictured with Dao producers

We subsequently led four-day immersive trips to northern, central and southern Portugal which evidently fired up no little passion among the sommeliers.  Not just for the wine but for Portuguese wine and food.

Blind tasting wines unmasked

Blind tasting wines unmasked

Just like me, my group fell for Dão’s Serra d’Estrela cheese – dreamily mentioned among the food matches yesterday during an intense day of skills and knowledge tests.


Serra d’Estrela cheese

Sommelier Quest culminated in an afternoon of presentations.  Each sommelier had been invited to select and present two wines from their visit which particularly excited them.  (Cristiano van Zeller and his winemaker Joana Pinhão scored particularly well here – three sommeliers chose Quinta Vale DMaria 2011!)

Sommelier selections

Sommelier selections

The contestants - a distinguished list

The contestants – a distinguished list

Let me tell you I felt very thirsty and hungry by the end of the day having tasted scintillating wines with equally scintillating food suggestions!

quest bairrada 2 027

Moreover I am delighted to say that Baga Friends have swelled their ranks.  Guillon selected Quinta da Vacariça 2008, but no-one was more enthusiastic than Gus Gluck whom I hope persuades his bosses to list some top Baga drops at Vinoteca!

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Though we did not assess the contestants’ wines (but rather their knowledge and skill presenting their choice) Guillon’s white, Caves São João Porta dos Cavaleiros White 1985, was inspired, as was his food match of smoked lobster which had the judges drooling.

qeust day 2 caves sao joao 107

Other particularly memorable food matches included Terrenus white – a very mineral wine – with Cornish Turbot with green olives, chopped oysters and veloute of sake which I notice  just happens to be on Anja Breit’s menu at The Ledbury at the moment.  And Quinta do Ameal 2004 with monkfish medallions en papillotte with baby carrots, cumin, coriander, dried fruits and nuts and an orange sabayon with chorizo, served with saffron rice (suggested by Antonin Dubuis of the Savoy Grill).



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  1. Maria da Assunção Foy

    Well done! That seems to me a very useful iniciative of Wines of Portugal to promote Portuguese wines.
    And thanks, Sarah, for your drive and enthusiasm about our wines.
    Congratulations to the winners and all participants.
    Maria Foy

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