Sommeliers are tasked with keeping an encyclopedic knowledge of global wines, and the fine art of pairing those wines with foods, and British Columbia is no stranger to some amazing wine minds.
That savvy was celebrated Monday at Rogers Arena at the third annual Best Sommelier of BC competition, and the nod for the best of the best for 2017 went to Shane Taylor, Wine Director of Vancouver’s celebrated CinCin.
Hosted by Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers British Columbia Chapter (CAPS BC), the tense showdown featured an initial batch of 16 competing somms from around the province (though almost all were from Vancouver this year).
The gruelling day of testing knowledge and execution began with a written exam, from which the top three finalists were culled. Those three were Taylor, Hawksworth’s Todd Prucyk, and Stable House Bistro’s Matthew Landry.
The finalists then were put through further paces for the judges during a 45-minute practical exam that includes the following:
- Sparkling wine service
- Red wine decanting
- Food and wine pairing exercise
- Menu correction exercise
- Blind tasting of cocktails, red and white wines
On the judges panel were an array of wine luminaries–four acclaimed women in the world of wine: Emcee and Technical Judge (and Daily Hive contributor) DJ Kearney (Acclaimed wine judge, WSET instructor; Master of Wine student; Director of Wine, New District);Barbara Philip, MW (1st Western Canadian to obtain Masters of Wine designation; International-acclaimed wine judge, presenter and journalist); Michelle Bouffard, DipWSET (Certified sommelier; WSET instructor; President, CAPS BC); along with guest judge Véronique Rivest (2nd place, World’s Best Sommelier 2013; Best Sommelier of the Americas 2012; Canada’s Best Sommelier 2006 & 2012).
Taylor, who has competed before, pulled ahead for the win; in 2016 Taylor was also among the three finalists, along with Sean Nelson of Vij’s, though they were ultimately bested by Alistair Veen of Surrey’s Tap Restaurant.
Here are all 16 competing sommeliers from the 2017 Best Sommelier in BC:
- Adam Mayhew, Yew Seafood + Bar
- Chris McFadden, Terminal City Club
- Christopher Rielly, Nightingale
- Dawn Schultz, West
- Jayton Paul, Nightingale
- Jesse Walters, Burdock & Co
- Joanne DiGesio, Hawksworth Restaurant
- Kristi Linneboe, L’Abattoir
- Kyle Gartlan-Close, Le Crocodile
- Mathew Landry, Stable House
- Peter Van de Reep, Upstairs at Campagnolo
- Sarah McCauley, Glowbal
- Sean Nelson, Vij’s
- Shane Taylor, CinCin Ristorante + Bar
- Todd Prucyk, Hawksworth Restaurant
- Wes Hunter, Raudz
To see what Taylor is pouring, wine lovers will want to head to CinCin, the veteran Italian restaurant perched on Robson Street, where they have an impressive collection of over 1,000 labels.
CAPS’ BC Chapter, and Rogers Arena, will play host this fall to the Best Sommelier of Canada 2017 competition, another exciting event in wine.