Out & About • Stephane Soret

In 2011, the wine world was shuddered to its very tendrils when, in London, He Lan Qing Xue Jia Bei Lan Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 snatched Regional Trophy for Best Bordeaux Blend over other Gold Medal winners including from Argentina, Chile, California, South Africa, Australia and Bordeaux.

I was particularly proud when I heard the news because the Ningxia wine had originally won Gold Medal in the Far East, Middle East & Asia category for which I am Regional Chairman since Decanter World Wine Awards started in 2004.

My panel of three judges were Stephane Soret, Annette Scarfe and Yuka Ogasawara.

The three judges of Middle East, Far East & Asia category, Decanter World Wine Awards 2011. Seated from left: Yuka Ogasawara, Stephane Soret, and Annette Scarfe. Standing, Regional Chairman CH’NG Poh Tiong

Jia Bei Lan Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 made an immediate impression as soon as it was tasted. It did so for Soret too, at the time Wine Director of the Raffles Singapore and who returned – from MGM Grand Macau – to the hotel in August 2018 as their Director of Wine & F&B Special Projects.

The Frenchman was the most vocal supporter of Jia Bei Lan on the panel. Scarfe was also convinced as to the quality of the cabernet sauvignon and came onboard with Stephane and me very soon.

Annette was at the time studying to be a Master of Wine. It was never in doubt she was already more than qualified. Annette Scarfe became a MW in 2012.

In 2011 in London, Frenchman Stephane Soret helped make history for China’s first trophy winner in an international wine competition.

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