Britain’s most famous – and most respected sommelier – Gerard Basset MW OBE added to his long list of honours and qualifications yesterday when he was awarded the Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the French ambassador in London.
The award, second only to the Legion d’Honneur when it was created in 1883, is given to those who have positively benefited French agriculture, and marks a fitting recognition of Basset’s unstinting efforts in the world of wine over many decades.
As well as being a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier, he also holds an MSc in wine management and has won the prestigious World’s Best Sommelier competition.
It was a ray of good news for the always-positive Basset, who has been undergoing cancer treatment for the last few months, and makes a nice addition to the OBE which he received in 2011.
‘It is always humbling to have one’s work acknowledged and I am truly honoured to receive the ‘Mérite Agricole’ today,’ said Basset. ‘Whilst I owe much of my success to my beloved, adoptive country and I am very proud to hold dual French and British nationality, I never forget that I was born and raised in France, so it is an enormous privilege to be bestowed with this commendation.’
Farr Vintners Stephen Browett, Anne Burchett of Sopexa and Edward Squires of Dedicated Wines also received the award.