30 May INTERVIEW WITH YU KUROSAWA, EDWIN SOMMELIER
Edwin’s Sommelier, Yu Kurosawa, is not your average sommelier. The perfect choice to act as the voice for Edwin’s impressive wine selection, Yu is passionate about supporting local producers and growers – and believes that expanding your wine horizons can be pleasantly surprising. We caught up for a quick chat with Yu to learn more.
What inspired you to become a sommelier?
The first time I encountered wine, I was working for a French restaurant in Christchurch. Back then, I didn’t know much about wine at all, but the Sommelier there trained my palette and introduced me to New Zealand and French wines. I was amazed with the diversity of the fruits. At the time, I was working as a waitress, and this was my first English-speaking job. We had really great access to so many beautiful wines, which was a great opportunity to enter the wine world.
What is the most interesting aspect of your job?
Trying all the different types of wine, and getting to meet the makers.
To see their passion for wine in winemaking and to learn about their family background.
It gives me more into insight and gives me stories to tell our guests when helping them order.
Every maker has a different approach to each grape, and this can result in such different products.
I like being able to communicate these things to our guests.
The old “buy the second most expensive bottle” rule – a good rule of thumb, or no?
The price relates to quality, so there is always a reason to be expensive. Price usually reflects the hard work of the maker, so it’s kind of right in that sense. For the big brands, you’re paying for the brand name. I recommend supporting the smaller winemakers. They may charge you more, but the quality is more likely to be guaranteed. Smaller vineyards take so much care in producing their wine.
Favourite Victorian wine region to visit?
Beechworth. It’s so beautiful and there are so many different micro-regions around within an hours’ drive.
If I want to impress a guest with a wine list can you give me some tips on how to
pretend to be a wine connoisseur?
Just pick a grape variety that is obscure and just wish it’s good! (laughs)
Choose something so rare that no one knows what is, and order it with confidence.
Many of our readers might not be aware that Victoria has such a diverse range of quality wins available – can you tell us a little bit about what we’re missing out on when we
stick to say, a New Zealand Sav Blanc?
A lot of our customers tend to gravitate towards, say, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
If you love a Sauvignon Blanc, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s always a safe option, you know you’ll get the very pronounced notes of tropical fruits with a crisp finish. But, the world of wine is much bigger than that. You could explore out of your comfort zone and you may be surprised – there are some other wonderful grape variety out there.
Trust a little bit more in the vineyards around Victoria, they make fantastic wines. Support local!
Or, be brave and ask your sommelier to recommend something else. Come and see me at Edwin and I can help you expand your horizons.
What is your philosophy on menu pairing, and how have you brought this to Edwin?
It doesn’t matter if you drink red or white, there are always wines produced to match mountain food and wines that match ocean food, in both reds and whites. Some people don’t drink white but love red wine, and vice versa. I always aim to highlight what the chef is putting out and enhance the flavour, respectfully, with wine.
For example, the Shirley Rosee we have to drink with terrene – it matches so well. I encourage people to try something new and trust that we understand how the wine and food go together.
I always aim to highlight what the chef is putting out and enhance the flavour with wine. That’s always my motto. Also, I don’t want to ignore customers preference.
How is Edwin different from the many other Wine Bar restaurants in the city?
Edwin is Victorian, female, gender balanced, local, and all about relationships.
We really want to support the families and distributors, the small producers of our neighbours and community. We are not pretentious. We are down to earth and make people comfortable.