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London Sparkles in Champagne Awards

05/09/2004, By

Reader Rating: 2.8 from 786 votes

The Trophee Gosset Celebris will be residing in London again after it was announced that Putney Bridge has been awarded the UK top prize in the 2004 competition. The winners were announced by Beatrice Cointreau, CEO of Champagne GOSSET, at an awards ceremony held at the Four Seasons London on 27th September. Runner up was the Harrow at Little Bedwyn, near Marlborough, and third place went to The Bell at Skenfrith, near Abergavenny, coincidentally winner of the same prize last year.

Beatrice Cointreau, said, "This year we opened the UK competition to any establishment, however large or small, which has a strong representation of champagne (not necessarily Champagne Gosset) on its wine list and can demonstrate the partnership of champagne with good food. We had the highest level of entries received so far in the UK and the judges certainly had a mammoth task when faced with the notable quality of wine lists submitted. The decision to appoint Putney Bridge as winner was unanimous but with The Harrow at Little Bedwyn and The Bell at Skenfrith and the other short-listed establishments, it is certainly in formidable company."

While the judges commented on the degree of mark up being made on champagne by some establishments, the observation was counter-balanced by some examples of truly outstanding value for money and an impressive number of special initiatives to promote sales of champagnes.

"This is the fifth consecutive year we have run the Trophée Gosset Celebris in the UK and the number and quality of entries is improving dramatically year on year, " added Cointreau.

Situated in a spectacular, award-winning riverside building, with panoramic views of the River Thames, Putney Bridge Restaurant and Bar is run by Head chef and manager is Anthony Demetre whose modern interpretation of classic French cooking has been widely acclaimed. According to sommelier Jean-Pierre Rabaste, champagne is widely promoted to guests and there are three champagnes available by the glass. Although he himself originates from the Loire, he is an enthusiastic fan of champagne "I believe that I manage to communicate this to my staff well, and our champagne sales speak for themselves," he says.

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn is run by Roger and Sue Jones. It was converted from a derelict pub some five years ago. Passion for wine is evident on the list, which reflects the immense number of wines stored in the air conditioned cellar.

The Bell at Skenfirth is situated on the banks of the River Monnow in Monmouthshire. Originating in the 17th Century, it was completely restored a few years ago to its former glory, as a traditional Welsh coaching inn. It is run by owner William Hutchings and his wife and co-incidentally was placed third in last year's Trophée Gosset Celebris when gastropubs were specifically targeted.

Putney Bridge has won an invitation for four people to visit Champagne GOSSET at Aÿ and a gourmet dinner and overnight accommodation in Champagne. Jean-Pierre Rabaste was also presented with a commemorative trophy and an engraved presentation box containing a magnum of GOSSET Celebris 1995. A representative from the restaurant also becomes a member of the Champagne Gosset Club des Lauréats, which meets annually to share a fine dining experience at a top European restaurant, courtesy of Beatrice Cointreau.

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn and the Bell at Skenfrith both received a framed certificate and presentation boxes containing Gosset Celebris 1995 and Gosset Celebris Rosé 1998. All the short-listed establishments were given a certificate and a gift box of Gosset Grande Reserve.

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