Norwegian crowned Europe's top sommelier

19th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 19, 2006 (AFP) - Norwegian Robert Lie was on Tuesday named Europe's top sommelier in a competition run by Ruinart, one of the oldest Champagne producers.

PARIS, June 19, 2006 (AFP) - Norwegian Robert Lie was on Tuesday named Europe's top sommelier in a competition run by Ruinart, one of the oldest Champagne producers.

Lie, 25, who works as a sommelier at the two-Michelin-star Bagatelle restuarant in Oslo, is the first Norwegian to win the two-yearly award which was inaugurated in 1988.

He beat Swiss sommelier Paolo Basso and Frenchman Eric Zwiebel for the prize.

Lie, who spoke of his "great joy" at his victory, has "the nose and the memory" required for the job, according to second-placed Basso.

The finalists from 25 countries were subjected to various tasks including blind wine tastings and identifying different spirits.

The last time the competition was held, in 2004, Swede Andreas Larsson won the coveted prize.

Having a Norwegian winning a French competition which included tasting Spanish and South African wine underlines the global competition facing the French wine market.

Last month California wines trounced Bordeaux anew in an epic rematch of a historic blind taste test credited with reshaping the wine world in 1976.

Wines from California's Napa Valley wine region were judged best by the combined scores of twin panels, one in California and a second in London.

European wines have increasingly seen their market share eroded by competition from cheaper New World wines from countries and regions such as Australia, Chile, California and even China.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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