Basset was a Master Sommelier and regarded as one of the greatest wine professionals of his generation. He was a former World Champion Sommelier and the only person ever to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA Wine honours.
In 2017, Basset shocked the wine world when he revealed he had been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.
Posting on Twitter, wine expert Jancis Robinson wrote: “A moment of quiet reflection and a long period of respect is in order for what can truly be called a tragedy for the wine world: the loss to cancer earlier today of Gerard Basset, world’s best sommelier in 2010 and a mentor and example to so many.”
Also posting on Twitter, The Court of Master Sommeliers wrote: “Words cannot express how saddened we are to hear of the passing of our former President and friend Gerard Basset MS, MW, OBE. He has been a mentor and inspiration to so many, a shining example of courtesy, humility and professionalism that we all should aspire to.”
Growing up in Saint-Etienne, Basset originally trained as a chef in his homeland of France before switching to the world of wine when he moved to the UK in the 1980s.
His extraordinary talent and knowledge of wine and service, coupled with his affable nature, led him to win accolades including UK Sommelier of the Year, Best International Sommelier for French Wines, Best Sommelier of Europe and World's Best Sommelier.
He co-founded Hotel du Vin, growing it to six sites before its sale to Malmasion. Following this, in 2007 he opened Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire’s New Forest with his wife Nina, with the premises relaunching last year as an 11-bedroom B&B called Spot in the Woods.