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Carl Villeneuve LePage – Best Sommelier Canada 2017

Tue, September 05, 2017 11:00 PM | Keith Nicholson (Administrator)

After an intensive two-day competition alongside Canada’s top sommeliers, Carl Lepage-Villeneuve, sommelier, Restaurant Toque!, Montreal, Quebec, has been named the Best Sommelier of Canada.

The runner-up sommeliers are Pier Alexis Souliere, Manresa Restaurant, Los Gatos California (from Quebec); and Steven Robinson, sommelier, Atelier Restaurant, Ottawa, Ontario.

The national competition, presented by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) was hosted for the first time ever by the CAPS BC Chapter in Vancouver at Rogers Arena on September 5, 2017. 

The three finalists were short listed after competing against six of their peers September 4 with a written exam and blind tasting; and then the following day, each was challenged with a practical examination that had them making cocktails, decanting and serving wine, and performing a live blind tasting, all as error-free as possible. 

It was a high pressure, stress-inducing situation for each of the three finalists, as a capacity crowd of 150 trade and public attended to watch. Additionally, the event was live streamed, and several viewing parties took place in cities across the country.

The winning title was announced later on the evening of September 5 at Victoria Chinese Restaurant, where 150 members of the wine and food community in Vancouver attended to show their support for the profession.

Villeneuve will represent Canada at the Best Sommelier of the America’s to be held in Montreal, 2018, and has the right to compete for the chance to go to the Best Sommelier of the World competition in Belgium, 2019.

In addition to the title, Villeneuve-Lepage takes home close to $40,000 in prizes, including trips, gifts and a $10,000 cash prize.

The winners & prizes:

1st PLACE/ The Best Sommelier of Canada:
Carl Lepage-Villeneuve, Restaurant Toque!, Montreal, Quebec

Villeneuve takes home the title, as well as an armload of prizes:
• The Grand Prize, presented by E&J Gallo, includes a flight to California and visits to E&J Gallo’s finest estates
• $10,000 cash and $5,000 in wine, furnished by SAQ
• Trip to Attend To Kalon Certification at the Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa Valley, scenic hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley, hands on vineyard education sessions, guided cycling tour through To Kalon Vineyard, and five-star accommodations.
• Trip to China for One Belt One Road International Sommelier Summit and Challenge
• Trip to the Okanagan Valley and the estates of Mission Hill, presented by Mission Hill
• Trip to Toronto for lunch with Michel Rolland, presented by ARAEX
• Personalized Vancouver Canucks jersey presented by Rogers Arena
• Five Hundred Dollars presented by Exquis
• Single Malt Glass, presented by Nova Scotian Crystal
• Inniskillin Icewine Glasses by Riedel, presented by Inniskllin, and an accompanying selection of Inniskillin’s Award-Winning Icewine

2nd PLACE:
Pier Alexis Souliere, Manresa Restaurant, CA
• Trip to Argentina Wine Country, presented by Wines of Argentina
• Trip to the Okanagan Valley and the estates of Mission Hill, presented by Mission Hill
• Five Hundred Dollars, presented by Exquis
• Personalized Vancouver Canucks jersey presented by Rogers Arena
• Single Malt Glass, presented by Nova Scotian Crystal
• Inniskillin Icewine Glasses by Riedel, presented by Inniskillin, and an accompanying selection of Inniskillin’s Award-Winning Icewine

3rd PLACE:
Steven Robinson, sommelier, Atelier Restaurant, Ottawa, Ontario
• Trip to Best Sommeliers of America’s Competition Montreal, May 2018, presented by CAPS
• Trip to the Okanagan Valley and the estates of Mission Hill, presented by Mission Hill
• Five Hundred Dollars, presented by Exquis
• Personalized Vancouver Canucks jersey presented by Rogers Arena
• Single Malt Glass, presented by Nova Scotian Crystal
• Inniskillin Icewine Glasses by Riedel, presented by Inniskllin, and an accompanying selection of Inniskillin’s Award-Winning Icewine

Wine Taster of the Day
Steven Robinson, Atelier Restaurant, Ottawa, Ontario
Wins $1,000 USD Delta Air Lines Voucher Courtesy of the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Highest Theory Score
Pier Alexis Souliere, Manresa Restaurant, CA
Wins $1,000 USD Delta Air Lines Voucher Courtesy of the Vancouver International Wine Festival

Spirit Taster of the Day
Pier Alexis Souliere, Manresa Restaurant, CA
Wins Nova Scotian Crystal Decanter and Single Malt Glasses & The Macallan Rare Cask

Best Sake and Food Pairing
TIE:
Emily Pearce Bibona, The York Club
Steven Robinson, Atelier Restaurant, Ottawa, Ontario.
Each win a magnum of Dom Perignon Rose Champagne

The Judges
Pascaline Lepeltier, Master Sommelier, New York
Véronique Rivest (2nd place at the World’s Best Sommelier competition, in 2013), Quebec
John Szabo, Master Sommelier, Ontario

All Competitors

ATLANTIC
Lesley Quinn, Sommelier, Barrington Steakhouse & Oyster Bar

QUEBEC
Carl LePage Villeneuve, Sommelier, Restaurant Toque
Pier Alexis Souliere, Sommelier, Manresa Restaurant

ONTARIO
Emily Pearce Bibona, Sommelier, The York Club
Steven Robinson, Sommelier, Atelier Restaurant

PRAIRIES
Domar Rafael, Food & beverage manager, The Manitoba Club

BRITISH COLUMBIA
Shane Taylor, Wine director, Cin Cin Ristorante + Bar
Alistair Veen, Chef & owner, Tap Restaurant
Jason Yamasaki, Group sommelier, Joey Wine Group

Photos credit: Scott Little.

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