Pier-Alexis Soulière: First Place at 2018 ASI & APAS Best Sommelier of the Americas

The talents of our Canadian sommeliers were on full display at the recently held 2018 ASI & APAS Contest of the Best Sommelier of the Americas held in Montreal, May 21-24. While the actual competition ran for only 3 days, the entire event lasted close to 9, as pre-competition dinners for the ASI Technical Committee and a post event tour of Nova Scotia wine country extended the visit of many of the delegates until May 28.

Twenty competitors from across the Americas came to Canada in search of the prestigious title of the Best of the Americas. It was a tension filled week, as the competitors partook in theory and practical examinations that challenged both their knowledge and ability to perform calmly under relentless pressure. The top twenty were narrowed to a final eight, announced at a superlative Wines of Ontario dinner featuring a broad range of that province’s best served alongside the robust cuisine of Au Pied du Cochon Cabane au Sucre. Both Canadian competitors, Pier-Alexis Soulière and 2017 Best Sommelier of Canada winner Carl Villeneuve-LePage, cracked the top 8. Heading to the next stage with Soulière and Villeneuve-LePage were two competitors from Argentina, and one competitor each from Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

The semi-final round was similarly full of excitement and tension. Judges commented on the remarkable level of the competitors, noting in particular the rise in quality amongst the South American contingent. Heading towards the final, there was no clear indication that Canada would have a competitor competing in the finals.

As the gala day unfolded anticipation of the final eight became nearly unbearable as an unforeseen delay of the ASI delegation led to the final contest starting an hour after its scheduled time. Finally, ASI President Andres Rosberg came to the podium at the front of the stage at the Marie-Gérin-Lajoie Theatre at UQAM to announce the finalists. Rosberg eliminated competitor by competitor. Finally, it was down to four. And when Rosberg announced the Mexican candidate, the crowd roared in realization that the final 3 competitors included both Canadians, along with Argentina’s top sommelier, Martin Bruno.

Best Sommelier of the World 2007, Andreas Larsson, presided over the finals which tasked the competitors to complete a number of tasks including: Champagne service, creation of an Old Fashioned cocktail, service of a magnum of Sancerre, a wine list correction, a blind tasting of spirits and various blind wine tasting exercises. After more than 3-hours of competition, there was no clear winner.

Finally Roseberg emerged from behind the curtains to announce the winner. Carl-Villeneuve LePage was announced as second runner-up, leaving only Pier-Alexis Soulière and Martin Bruno.

And the winner is Pier-Alexis Soulière ….

Pier-Alexis will represent the Americas at the 2019 ASI Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World in Belgium.

The complete list of sommeliers that competed at the ASI & APAS Contest of the Best Sommelier of the Americas are:

Mr. Martin Bruno (Argentina)
Ms. Valeria Gamper (Argentina)
Mr. Diego Arrebola (Brazil)
Mr. Paulo Limarque (Brazil)
Mr. Carl Villeneuve Lepage (Canada)
Mr. Pier-Alexis Soulière (Canada)
Mr. Gonzalo Troncoso (Chile)
Ms. Misato Inaoka (Chile)
Mr. Andres Villegas Green (Columbia)
Mr. Juan David Quintero (Colombia)
Mr. Dario Rosario Mejía (Dominican Republic)
Mr. Federico Díaz Macias (Dominican Republic)
Mr. Luis Antonio Morones López (Mexico)
Mr. Steve Ayón Espitia (Mexico)
Mr. Simon Zalimben (Paraguay)
Mr. Christian Mezger (Paraguay)
Mr. Gerardo Joseph Ruiz Acosta (Peru)
Mr. Diego Vásquez Luque (Peru)
Mr. Federico De Moura (Uruguay)
Mr. Pablo Rodriguez (Uruguay)