Jitka Auermüllerová, sommelier at 67 Pall Mall in London, has been named the winner of this year’s UK Ruinart Sommelier challenge.
More than 70 candidates from around the UK applied for a place at the UK final, which took place at The Four Seasons Hotel At Ten Trinity Square earlier this week.
The judging panel, comprising Ruinart’s Chef de Cave Frédéric Panaïotis, Ronan Sayburn MS and last year’s winner Tony Lecuroux, whittled entries down to 30 finalists who competed in a blind tasting competition and then participated in Panaïotis’ Masterclass: ‘In Gas We Trust – Oxidation V Reduction’.
On being crowned the UK winner, Jitka Auermüllerová said: “I see this event as a unique opportunity not only to sharpen you blind tasting skills, but also to meet with other motivated and talented people from the wine industry and share the passion and knowledge. The day of the Challenge was an amazing experience. After a truly challenging wine flight for the blind tasting, I really loved the Masterclass by Frédéric Panaïotis on oxidation and reduction in Champagne winemaking.”
The day finished with an informal Champagne lunch at the rooftop suite at the venue, with views across Tower Bridge and a glass of Ruinart Rosé in hand.
Auermüllerová will now join 15 other winning sommeliers of the Ruinart Sommelier Challenge final days (held in the US, Nordics, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia) for an all-expenses paid four-day educational trip to France in July.
This will be hosted by Ruinart’s chef de cave Frédéric Panaïotis and his team, but will cover many aspects of the region and its brands.
Runners-up, Christopher Parker of the Lime Wood Hotel in Hampshire, and Vincenzo Arnese from Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, each receive a Magnum of Ruinart Rosé NV.
“This year’s competition saw 26 talented Sommeliers take part in a competitive blind-tasting and an educational masterclass on ‘Oxidation vs Reduction: In Gas We Trust’, which for me is one of the best elements of the day,” said Panaïotis. “This was accompanied by a tasting of older vintages of Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs to show how the theory applies to various bottle formats.”
On a personal note, Panaïotis added: “I would like to dedicate the 2019 UK Ruinart Sommelier Challenge to wine world legend, Gerard Basset, who contributed so much to the previous three editions.”