THE ASI BEST SOMMELIER OF THE WORLD CONTEST PARIS 2023: COGNAC HIGHLIGHTSGHLIGHTS
“Cognac lies at the midpoint between sommellerie and mixology”, Xavier Thuizat, voted Best Sommelier in France in 2022
Hosted in Paris from 7 to 12 February, the next edition of the prestigious ASI Competition for the Best Sommelier of the World will draw to a close with a final open to the public at Paris La Défense Arena. The BNIC and 12 Cognac houses have partnered up with the event to showcase all their expertise to competing sommeliers – 68 candidates representing 64 countries – and delegations during key moments, tastings and masterclasses. An opportunity to (re-)discover the many facets of Cognac and its diverse tasting methods.
COGNAC IN THE SPOTLIGHT DURING THE SIX-DAY COMPETITION
Organized for the second time in France since it was created, the ASI Best Sommelier of the World contest offers the chance to promote the diversity of Cognac. Many sommeliers and chefs from around the world will attend this six-day event to perfect their knowledge of spirits and explore the sensory richness of Cognac, 212.5 million bottles of which were exported worldwide in 2022. From tastings to cocktails at the sommelier bar, meetings with Cognac representatives and stakeholders, masterclasses on the many facets of Cognac, from grape to glass, and Cognac and wine pairings during dinners, an immersive program has been drawn up by 12 Cognac houses in partnership with the BNIC (Hennessy, Martell, Rémy Martin, ABK6, Ansac, Delamain, De Luze, Distillerie des Moisans – Deau, Ferrand, Frapin, Grand Marnier, and Hine).
“COGNAC HAS A RIGHTFUL PLACE IN THE WORLD OF FINE DINING”
Sommeliers and bartenders are keen to inspire the curiosity of consumers by showcasing creative Cognac pairings. Take Xavier Thuizat, voted Best Sommelier in France in 2022 and Head Sommelier at Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, who has offered the “‘Cognac experience’ since 2017, consisting of a tasting of three Cognacs to discover the diversity of the terroirs. Cognac lies at the midpoint between sommellerie and mixology. It is both a core ingredient for bartenders (particularly VSOP Cognacs for their panache) and a very subtle after-dinner drink, and, when they are over ten years old, these wine spirits have earned their place in the world of fine dining. In France, bartenders are showcasing Cognac with cocktails inspired by what’s happening in London and New York. As sommeliers, we also have a key role to play in bringing Cognac back to the table. We need to promote it from starter to dessert in France as well! Cognac has a great opportunity at a time when authenticity and local ‘terroir’ products are all the rage. It is down to us to put Cognac houses and winegrowers in the spotlight!”
COGNAC EXPERIENCES DURING THE COMPETITION
Every evening of the competition
- Cognac at the Sommelier bar
Cognac tastings at the Sommelier bar, led by nine partner Cognac houses and the BNIC to showcase all the diversity of the appellation, both in terms of Cognac profiles and the various ways to serve and taste Cognac, either neat or in cocktails.
📍 5 pm to 2 am on the 3rd floor of Pullman Montparnasse (19 rue du Commandant René Mouchotte 75014 Paris)
Tuesday 7 February
- “Welcome Wine Fair”
A tasting of Cognacs from twelve partner Cognac houses (Hennessy, Martell, Rémy Martin, ABK6, Ansac, Delamain, De Luze, Distillerie des Moisans – Deau, Ferrand, Frapin, Grand Marnier, and Hine), led by David Boileau (Cognac ambassador at the BNIC) and Franck Ramage (Cognac Educator).
📍 2 pm to 6 pm on the 3rd floor of Pullman Montparnasse (19 rue du Commandant René Mouchotte 75014 Paris)
Thursday 8 February
- Cognac Masterclass “Behind the Scenes: Cognac from the grape to the glass”
Cognac from vine to glass: an hour-long session where competitors can discuss the appellation, the specificities of Cognac expertise and the many different flavor nuances of this wine spirit. The workshop will also include a tasting co-organized by the BNIC, featuring an ageing wine spirit and a Cognac specially chosen by the brand ambassadors of partner Cognac houses (Hennessy, Martell et Rémy Martin).
📍 10.30 am to 11.30 am on the 3rd floor of Pullman Montparnasse (19 rue du Commandant René Mouchotte 75014 Paris)
- Announcement of the semi-finalists
Mixology workshop on the diversity of Cognac cocktails.
📍 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm at the Paris City Hall (Hôtel de Ville 75004 Paris)
Sunday 12 February
- The final, open to the public
📍 2 pm – 6 pm at Paris La Défense Arena (99 Jardin de l’Arche 92000 Nanterre)
Book online www.parisladefense-arena.com
- Closing ceremony
📍 7.30 pm – 11.30 pm at Paris La Défense Arena (99 Jardin de l’Arche, 92000 Nanterre)
For more information about Cognac, please click here
ABOUT THE BNIC
The BNIC, or Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac, represents, develops and preserves the Cognac AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée), both in France and abroad.
In the 150+ countries where Cognac is sold, this Geographical Indication provides consumers with a guarantee that they are buying an outstanding wine spirit. Comprising an equal number of members from the winegrowing and commercial sides of the industry, the BNIC is a coordination and decision-making body which brings together almost 4,300 winegrowers and grower-distillers, 120 professional distillers, and 290 merchants operating within the appellation.
The BNIC defends the interests of Cognac producers and consumers, with an unwavering commitment to everyone with an interest in this appellation.