February 16, 2011 0

Gerard Basset: the World Wine Sommelier (3 videos)

By in The Butler Wine-Show

Gerard Basset is a wine celebrity like no other. He is currently World’s Best Sommelier – which means he is the best man on the planet for helping you choose what to drink. Fact.

The co-founder of Hotel Du Vin is tireless in trying to break down wine snobbery and get people turned on to drinking better.

I was delighted then when cameraman and I got an invite to go to his Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest and meet the great man.

But stop a man in the street and ask him who Gerard Basset is and probably he wont have a clue so before we indulge you with a set of programmes where the great man indulges us with his pearls of wine wisdom (and I develop a hangover that lasted 3 days) we thought a video giving a little bit of background might be useful.

The World’s Best Sommelier (wine adviser) Gerard Basset was a co-founder of the hugely popular UK hotel chain Hotel Du Vin.

We went down to his latest venture, Hotel TerrVina in the New Forest to see what he’s up to now, which is a relaxed venue inspired by his experiences in the Californian wine region of Napa Valley.

Its a mid-market hotel, with a wine list that’s very accessible – in his own words you should be able to find an interesting wine on any list for £20.

This follows his desire to make wine as accessible as possible. Much of his own wine education came from the UK which he admires as you can find most of the world’s best wines. Not so in France for example where they drink their own produce.

Basically he’s saying the UK is a great place to be a wine enthusiast and as our attitudes and demands to quality change, it will only get better.

Vote with your feet. Demand better from your supermarkets, restaurants, bars and…wine merchants!

There’s hope for us all: The World’s Best Sommelier Gerard Basset didn’t set out to be an approachable, affable, informed wine expert. Though he is French, so even if he says a wine tastes of vinegar it sounds lovely.

He started at the bottom: a dishwasher in England. His French roots meant everyone thought he knew about wine so he decided to study and travel to improve his knowledge and made it his passion.

That passion led to the founding of Hotel Du Vin, but he has had some failure along the way but you clearly can’t take the man away from the Food and Drink, Hotel and Leisure industry.

He name-checks Californian wine maker Robert Mondavi (his 2007 Woodbridge shiraz is on offer at Waitrose right now, and is a powerful, pleasant drink minus 25% of the price.)

Mondavi started late, aged 53, and Basset takes comfort from that. In terms of business ideas, clearly we haven’t heard the last from The World’s Best Sommelier.

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