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Gerard Basset was a friend. He was also a client, the greatest sommelier who has ever lived, but above all, the nicest human being. He left us too early at the age of 61, leaving behind a legacy that resulted in last Thursday Michelle and I attending at Annabels the greatest wine event the World has ever seen: The Golden Vines Awards, a charity.

It was setup in Gerard’s name by our mutual friend Lewis Chester to raise funds helping underprivileged minorities to become Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine, which until now has been mainly a white male-dominant environment. I am delighted to say that the event comfortably exceeded its target of raising £1m for the Gerard Basset Foundation.

It was the first time that wine professionals, collectors and just amateur wine lovers from around the world had the opportunity to nominate whom they viewed as the World’s, Europe’s and New World’s Best Winemaker, among others.

Deloitte were the auditors and certified the results.

The World’s Best Winemaker went to Aubert de Villaine from the Domaine de la Romanée Conti.

The Best European Winemaker Award went to Egon Müller from Germany. Obviously this left a lot of top winemakers from many famous European wine regions red from envy, to be polite. C’est la vie!

Many of you will know that Top Selection has been the exclusive UK distributor of Egon’s wines since 2005. We have been preaching that his wines are magical and we grew together over the years. Now he has the award to go with it. Just like we have three Fine Wine Merchant of the Year awards to show for our progress.

Domaine Thénard have been with us since vintage 2006 and have been part of Burgundy Royalty for centuries. It is therefore no surprise to find their legendary Montrachet Grand Cru served among these great wines.

The full line-up of wines served at Annabels was incredible and out of the five wines, two were from the Top Selection stable. Egon Müller and Domaine Baron Thénard. I like this 40% ratio. (-:

So here are the wines served on the night

  • Dom Perignon P2 2003
  • Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Kabinett Alte Reben 2015
  • Baron Thénard Montrachet Grand Cru 2017
  • Domaine de la Romanee Conti Grand-Echézeaux 2005
  • Château Yquem 1988 from Jeroboams

Last but not least: Macallan London Limited Edition Single Malt Single Cask

If this were my retirement dinner or even last supper, I would happily accept it, but I would have to finish with a Szepsy Tokaji Aszú, obviously!

Akos Forczek
Founder & Chairman Top Selection