User login

Fredrik Horn on Andreas Larsson’s footsteps

Swedish Championship of Sommeliers 2009
Contest 2009 Sweden
Fredrik Horn

on Andreas Larsson’s footsteps

The Swedish Championship of sommeliers was established in 2000. Previously, Swedish sommeliers had demonstrated their skills in inter­national competitions many times, not least when Mikael Söderström became European Champion in the 1990 Trophée Ruinart. The Swedish Sommelier Association was esta­blished in 1986 and became a member of ASI in 1989. This was the work of a few dedicated sommeliers with high hopes of international success. Something that was to come true about 20 years later when Andreas Larsson became Best Sommelier of the World 2007.

Sommellerie in Sweden has become highly respected. Top class restaurants as well as those with high ambitions all value the work of the sommelier. Magazines, TV-shows and Internet-media all have sommeliers to guide you on wine choices. As a matter of fact, there are 6 different schools with about 300 sommeliers graduating every year. This in a country with a population of 9 million people!!

Of course, not everyone reaches the level necessary to compete at national level. The cham­pionship is however open to everyone, simply by registering. But in spite of the large number of sommeliers in Sweden, only a few have the ambition to compete. This year 6 courageous young Swedish sommeliers were assessed for the title of Swedish Champion.

The competition was held on one day and divided into a semi-final and a final. The semi-final started at 9.00am with a written exam of
30 questions in 60 minutes. After a short break, the candidates were faced with a blind-tasting consisting of a glass of red wine and three different spirits. They were required to give a full written description of the red wine and identify the spirits. The last test of the morning session was the decanting and service of a red wine for two guests.

The jury, consisting of its President, Michel Jamais, one of Sweden’s most influential sommeliers and author of wine books, Dan Lystad (Norway), Thomas Holm (Sweden), Urvo Ugandi (Estonia), all experienced in international competitions, and Ulf Wagner (Sweden), who runs the 1 star restaurant Basement in Gothenburg, had the difficult task of selecting the 3 finalists.

In front of approximately 500 spectators, Best Sommelier of the World 2007, Andreas Larsson announced the three finalists: Fredrik Horn, PM&Vänner, Arvid Rosengren, Le Rouge and Totte Steneby, Eriks Winebar Gondolen.

The first task of the final was to fill 16 champagne glasses from a Magnum-bottle without returning to any of them. All the competitors competed at the same time, as they did for the next test which was decanting. No service was required, just mise-en-place, opening and decanting. All three competitors finished within the designated 3 minutes. Finally, the candidates were called in one at the time for a blind tasting of 2 wines, followed by a recommendation of wines for a set menu.

It was not an easy job for the jury to decide upon the result, all the candidates having done a very good job. Finally, Fredrik Horn was announced the winner of the Swedish Championship 2009, and received his prize from Sören Polonius, Swedish Champion 2008. Together with (2nd place) Arvid Rosengren he will represent Sweden in the Nordic
Championship 2009, an annual compe­tition between the top sommeliers of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Given the performances and victories from Nordic countries in recent international competitions, it promises to be a top class competition. It will be held in Sweden towards the end of the year.

Göran Klintberg President of the Swedish
Sommelier Association