NZ Sommelier Awards announced at Special dinner
Dion Wai wins New Zealand Sommelier of the Year and a trip to Champagne
Young talent from the north and the deep south took top prizes in blind tastings, theory and practical assessments at this year’s New Zealand Sommelier of the Year Awards at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine on Sunday 11 September.
The Awards were presented 6 course tasting dinner prepared by Chef Lek of Saan Restaurant and students or the New Zealand School of Food and Wine.
Dion Wai holds Louis Roederer Crystal.
NZ Sommelier of the Year Dion Wai with Head Judge Cameron Douglas MS, Andy Reid representing Champagne Louis Roederer and Celia Hay, chair of the NZ Sommeliers and Wine Professionals and sponsor of the Awards.
Richard King wins New Zealand Junior Sommelier of the Year
Richard King wins NZ Junior Sommelier of the Year with sponsor Andy Wilkinson of Misha Vineyard.
NZ Sommelier Junior Sommelier of the Year Dion Wai with Head Judge Cameron Douglas MS, Andy Wilkinon representing Misha's Vineyard and Celia Hay, chair of the NZ Sommeliers and Wine Professionals and sponsor of the Awards.
2016 Winners with judges L-R NZ Sommelier of the Year 2015 Maciej Zimny from Nobel Rot, Wellington, Celia Hay, Mathew Judd, former NZ Sommelier of the Year, Dion Wai, NZ Sommelier of the Year 2016, Lyndey Milan, guest judge from Sydney, Richard King, NZ Junior Sommelier of the Year, Cameron Douglas MS.
The competitors in the Sommelier of the Year Competition are required to taste six wines which have their identities concealed, including international wines. This year the line-up included William Fevre Chablis, Ott Gruner Veltliner, Omaka Springs Pinot Gris, Cote du Rhone, Tongue in Groove Pinot Noir, Tinto Pesquera from Spain.
They also sit a theory exam and the finalist perform practical wine service in front of four judges where they must open and pour a bottle of Louis Roederer Champagne, open wine under cork and answer a series of challenging questions.
Chef Lek from Saan Restaurant prepares dinner at the New Zealand School of Food and Wine.
Yum Talay Coconut poached squid and prawns with wood ear mushrooms paired with Clos Marguerite Sauvignon Blanc 2015.
Preparing the spicy beef tartare (yes, raw), watercress, pickled garlic with taro chips paired with Elephant Hill Le Phant Rouge.
Sok Lek Spicy beef tartare, watercress, pickled garlic with taro chips paired with Elephant Hill Le Phant Rouge.
Condiments to go with the Khanom Jeen - Smoked fish vermicelli, fermented chilli paste and paired with Pasquale Gewurztraminer.
Moo Aob - Roast cured pork belly with honey soy sauce and Massaman Gae curry with Pigeon Bay Lamb were served with Misha's Vineyard High Note Pinot Noir.
To finish Smoked shortbread, young coconut milk, freeze dried lychee, salted coconut caramel, jasmin ice cream paired with Pegasus Bay Aria