Roberto Durán has won Best International Sommelier at Cava 2019. Durán, who is sommelier at the London restaurant 67 Pall Mall, was Spanish champion sommelier in 2015. Second placed was Iván Ruiz, tasting director at LOCatamos, and third was Guillermo Llopis, of Le Sol restaurant in Alicante. The grand final of this competition, organised by the Cava Regulatory Council and held on the evening of 12th October, took place in the outstanding setting of the Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona Gran Luxe, Barcelona. The grand final was held together with a gala dinner for over 200 guests, an occasion presided over in a relaxed way by the writer and presenter Boris Izaguirre.
A total of 19 finalists competed, choosing Cavas and glasses, and serving them to match the dishes at the dinner. They were assessed by the 40 members of the jury, who were distributed throughout all the tables. They considered aspects like matching drinks with the meal – made up of eight dishes of which the competitors were not aware until one hour before the dinner began – serving technique, communication with guests, attitude at the table and consistency.
The other 16 finalists, selected in different semifinals held over two years in different places around Spain, were David Barro, of Vins Coalla; Marta Burgos, sommelier trainer and technical director of the DOP Cebreros; Antoni Fernández, consultant sommelier at Licors Moya in Mallorca; Miguel Ángel Garri, trainer at the Centre de Turisme d’Alacant and at the DO Vins Alacant regulatory council; Jesús González, sommelier at the Coalla Gurmet shop in Oviedo; Gabriel Lucas, sommelier at Marc Fosh, with a Michelin star; Jordi Martínez, owner of Selecte Wine Store in Guissona; Fernando Mayoral, sommelier at the restaurant Rincón d’Espanya; Javier Mayoral, runner-up at the regional finals in Castilla y León for Best Cava Sommelier in the years 2012 and 2017; Diego Muñoz, maître and sommelier at the restaurant La Lobita in Navaleno (Soria); David Núñez, sommelier at the Hotel Palace Córdoba; Josep Pelegrín, Best Sommelier in Spain 2016 and Confrare de Mèrit of the Confraria del Cava Sant Sadurní; Christian Postigo, maître-sommelier at the restaurant Palocortado in Málaga; Francisco Javier Pozo, teacher of sensory analysis at the Natura hotel & catering school in Cuenca and trainer for the Spanish Maîtres and Waiters training association; Julio David Tauste Sierra, Head Sommelier at Orrery Restaurant in London, and Benito Troia, Wine Ambassador for the Galaco group.
During the gala, the president of the Cava PDO regulatory council, Javier Pagés, stressed Cava’s gastronomic versatility, and compared its sophistication and elegance to that of the presenter of the event, attended by the leading names in the business. In his opinion, Cava shines because of its ability to “harmonise and lift all the dishes with which it is served, to accompany meals for more than just the toast and to make occasions unforgettable.” Boris Izaguirre, in his turn, also placed the accent on harmonies, pointing out that “They are very important these days.” The presenter of the gala recalled that “Cava forms part of our history,” stressing that what matters is not size but quality.
The gala was supported by Copesco & Sefrisa, Euroselecció / Riedel and 28 wineries from the Cava PDO who provided some of their finest Cavas for the evening: 1+1=3, Alta Alella, Codorníu, Canals i Munné, Carles Andreu, Ca Sala, Agustí Torelló Mata, Cava Guilera, Cellers Hispà-Suïssos, Freixenet, Giró Ribot, Joan Segura Licitades, Juvé & Camps, Lacrima Baccus/Montmarçal, Mascaró, Mestres, Oriol Rosell, Parató, Parés Baltà, Perelada, Pere Abadal, Pere Ventura, Privat, Segura Vídues, Sumarroca, Vallformosa, Vilarnau and Vins el Cep.