We’re very strict about our judges in the Sommelier Wine Awards. No divas, no nutters… and most definitely no merchants allowed. So when Olivier Marie – long-time sommelier at Le Coq d’Argent, and a SWA regular for 10 years – moved to join Genesis Wine, we had to bid him a tearful farewell.
But before he left, we caught up with him to find out what he thought of his time on the Tasting Floor.
When did you start judging at SWA?
'It was in the first year in 2007. Then it was so small it was held in two rooms above a pub – the Atlas in Fulham. I’ve judged every year since.'
You made the step up to being a team leader, too, didn’t you?
'Yes – two or three years ago. I can't remember – I’m getting old!'
What do you like about SWA?
'Obviously, tasting 70 wines a day, I liked the diversity of wines on offer, but I will also miss the nice camaraderie and atmosphere during tasting. There was a high level of professionalism amongst my fellow judges.'
Any stand-out flights?
'Fortified in general, and sherries in particular, were always amazing. Every year.'
What would you say to someone who is thinking about judging at SWA?
'Go for it! You will gain a massive wealth of experience!'