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Quentin Vauléon wins the title for Brittany

Best Young Sommelier of France – Duval-Leroy Trophy 2017

Sommelier at Pavillon Ledoyen and finalist of the 15th edition of this contest the winner showed his professional qualities, his knowledge and personality that seduced the jury all along.

Quentin Vauléon

In front of Best Sommelier of the World 2013 Paolo Basso who came as a visitor, Quentin Vauléon took the lead of the finals of the Best Young Sommelier of France competition – Duval-Leroy Trophy. After Vertus in the heart of the vineyard of the famous Champagne house, then Bordeaux, the final stage of the competition that gathers candidates under 26 took place in Paris. Whereas the semi-finals were organized at the Nespresso academy for the eleven best candidates stemming from a first selection, the finals took place on the stage of the Theater of Paris.
All the semi-finalists went on the stage but only four of them experienced the stress of the last series of tests. By drawing lots Aymeric Pollenne (The Lanesborough, London) started the finals.
Concrete from the first workshop the technical committee of the French Union of Sommellerie directed by Fabrice Sommier asked him to make a first blind sensory analysis of a grand white wine. A wine that the young sommelier settled since autumn in England recognized quite well like Bastien Debono did a bit later. But none of them imagined he had in his glass a Montrachet 1988 of Romanée Conti!

A multi-skill winner

The candidates had to use their nose and palate to identify five spirits (Noilly Prat, Triple Sec Combier, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, Pommeau de Normandie, verbena liqueur from Forez). The rest of the trials combined practical tests and knowledge with a food and wine pairing exercise and service by the glass, then the presentation of a wine, its terroir and history in front of press and communication people. And continued with the pairing of a cheese tasted the day before and explained by Chef Tomy Gousset and a Champagne, a workshop judged by Carol Duval-Leroy and Guillaume Gomez, chef of the French president.

At last questions about the news and regulations of the wine world closed the finals played by Quentin Vauléon (Pavillon Ledoyen), Corentin Meyer (Relais Bernard Loiseau) and Bastien Debono (Oustau de Baumanière). Steadfast elegance, cheerful disposition and also stress marked the performances.


Le lauréat avec les finalistes autour de Philippe Faure-Brac et Carol Duval-Leroy.

The final result confirmed the impression of control shown by Quentin Vauléon, the unfortunate finalist two years earlier. A multi-skill winner who has won the Duval-Leroy trophy as well as the Nespresso challenge, a parallel competition about the knowledge of coffee. Two titles that the team of Pavillon Ledoyen immediately shared. Evidence that the sommellerie, as much as the quality of cuisine like three-starred chef Yannick Alléno's, is an excellent communication medium.

Jean Bernard


Four questions for Quentin Vauléon

What has been your path until the title?
I am native from Brittany, near Rennes, and I studied catering and sommellerie at the Yvon-Bourges vocational school in Dinard, especially with enology teacher Marc Michaud. Then I worked at Taillevent for two years, at Ritz for a short while and now I am at Pavillon Ledoyen, a place I am really proud to represent.

What do professional competitions represent for you?
I discovered the contests, especially the Loire wine competition, when I was studying sommellerie. Generally speaking, competing gives me a lot, first because it makes me work to complement my knowledge. Storing this knowledge is very useful in my daily life as I notice consumers are increasingly informed about wine.
This year I think I could lean on my experience of the 2015 finals. And knowing how to behave before the jury and the audience helped me to prepare to manage with the stress, the workshops, the attitude in front of people I don’t know. All this has been very beneficial to me.

Which workshops inspired you most?
In the semifinals, then the finals, those that gave me the most freedom and let me talk about a wine but not only. On the first day I had to evoke a bottle of Château Chalon, the region, the tourism and the history. During the finals it was a bit the same about a bottle of Cour-Cheverny, the cuvee François 1er of Domaine des Huards, that I had to present to ladies who wished to attend an enology lesson after a cooking course. In both cases I had a lot of pleasure in the exercise.

What will you remind of this experience?
Beyond the victory and all it represents I much appreciated the moments shared with other young sommeliers some of who I had never met before. We made up a group having differences but sharing a passion for our profession and wine.