Baltic Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix 2008, i.e. the competition of the best sommelier of the Baltic States, ended in Vilnius at the late night of 25 October, was won for the second year in a row by the Latvian Raimonds Tomsons from Riga’s restaurant Vincents. The Estonian representative Kristjan Markii from Tallinn restaurant Balthasar won the second place with minimal point difference.
“The competition of Baltic Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix was very exciting even up to the last round foremost between two favourites, Raimonds Tomsons and Kristjan Markii. It could be noted that the competitors having won the first and second place were almost equal,” Guy Bonnefoit, the chairman of the jury said after the end of the competition.
The title of Baltic Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix is a very prestigious award, the winning of which is a proof about belonging to the elite of the wine world. Kristjan Markii was a strong competitor, but just for the sake of putting oneself to test I hope to participate in Baltic Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix and meet him also next year,” Raimonds Tomsons, having won the champion’s title, said.
The main prize of the championship of sommeliers, having received its name by the name of Liviko’s cult brand, liqueur of Vana Tallinn, is the wine trip with the freely chosen destination within the value of thousand euros, sponsored by AS Liviko. Also, the first free of the competition received Laguiole corkscrews which are highly valued among professionals.
“Baltic Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix was held for the third time, this competition has been now hosted by the capital cities of all three Baltic States – we promise to surely continue this competition from Liviko’s side. I am firmly convinced that through the competition between sommeliers the alcohol culture develops in all Baltic States and Liviko is pleased to contribute to it,” Janek Kalvi, manager of Liviko, said.
The third place in the competition of the Baltic best sommelier was won by the Latvian sommelier Janis Kalkis from the restaurant of Jurmala SPA hotel. The fourth to the final was also the only woman competitor, Youlia Khaibullina from the restaurant Skazka of St. Petersburg.
The Lithuanian sommelier Arminas Darasevičius from the wine store Vyno klubas won the competition of serving the champagne which was held among the competitors who did not reach the best four of the final. The task of the competition was to serve the 75cl bottle of champagne equally into nine glasses, by pouring only once to each glass.
For selecting the best sommelier the competitors were put to test in both knowledge of theory and in practical skills, in total of six fields. In the first round the test consisting of 54 questions was to be answered. Thereafter the Baltic best drink experts competed in the blind degustation in recognition of the dry white and dry red wine, sweet white and white sparkling wine and also, in recognition of the five strong alcoholic drinks. Further on, the competition was in decanting, recognition and adjustment of the deliberately entered mistake on the wine card, serving of bottle of sparkling wine, recommending the wines and cigar suitable by the five-course meal, cutting and serving for the client.
This year’s best sommelier of the Baltic States was found out by international jury which was headed by Guy Bonnefoit, expert in gastronomy and wines and the author of wine books. The members of the jury included Arunas Starkus, the President of the Lithuanian Sommelier Association, Urvo Ugandi – President of the Estonian Sommelier Association, Marcis Mitrevics, the member of the Latvian Sommelier Association, Dmytro Sydorenko – President of the Ukrainian Sommelier Association and Igor Sharbatov – President of the St. Petersburg’s Sommelier Association from Russia.
Baltic Sommelier Vana Tallinn Grand Prix was already held for the third year upon the leadership of AS Liviko and in cooperation with the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Sommelier Associations. Last year the sommeliers competed in Riga, in 2006 in Tallinn.
AS Liviko is the Estonian largest producer of alcoholic drinks which this year celebrates its 110th anniversary. Besides production, AS Liviko has developed its distribution and wholesale network of alcohol in Estonia, Latvia as well as in Lithuania, through which the brands imported from other international producers of quality alcohol, besides own production, are distributed.