Interview With A Sommelier – Fehmi Günsu
19th October 2023
The World of Wine is beautifully showcased by an army of talented Sommeliers, who help the consumer discover their next favourite bottle, understand the different regions and pair a delicious meal with the right Glass of Bubbly.
In this feature, I speak with a man who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Fehmi Günsu, and let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“I was born in Balıkesir, Turkey in 1996. In 2011, When I was a 9th-grade student, I began my career in the hospitality industry. Three years ago, I started my wine career as a Junior Sommelier. Last year, I became the 1st place winner in the 12th Young Sommeliers Competition in Turkey. Currently, I am in the United States, where I am doing a one-year internship in hospitality and hotel management. Here, I am getting to know American wines closely and preparing for The Court of Master Sommeliers Americas Certified exam.”
What Inspired You To Become A Sommelier?
“During my time working as a waiter at Four Seasons Academy, my valuable Restaurant Manager, Mehmet Urer, recognized my interest and curiosity in wine. With his encouragement, I voluntarily embarked on a second job as a Junior Sommelier, which marked the beginning of my sommelier career. I am truly grateful to him for this opportunity.”
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?
“There are many examples to be given about this, but after I started to learn the science of wine, it was one of the most instructive things for me to experience how valuable onology is and how terroir changes the fate of wine.”
How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?
“When recommending English sparkling wines to my guests, I take into consideration their interests and experiences. English sparkling wines have gained significant momentum in recent years, with numerous producers crafting high-quality offerings. As such, I can suggest English sparkling wines to those seeking a local experience and those looking for something different.
Additionally, I would like to mention a particular English sparkling wine producer that holds a special place in my heart as it was the first one I tasted in America and remains a personal favorite. Nyetimber, a renowned English sparkling wine producer, is recognized for its elegant fruit flavors and long-lasting effervescence. I recommend Nyetimber to provide my guests with a unique experience.
Upon discovering my guests’ preferences for sparkling wines that complement their food choices, I provide information about English sparkling wines that pair well with seafood, shellfish, or light cheeses.
In conclusion, I aim to understand my guests’ preferences and expectations, offering them the most suitable experience by providing general information about English sparkling wines and presenting options. It is essential to remember that each guest is unique, so I strive to tailor my recommendations to their tastes and needs.”
In Your Professional Opinion, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal?
“Champagne and Prosecco have different flavor profiles, so it might not be fair to say which works best with food. I think the most important thing is the structure of the food, the cooking techniques and the sauces used. Bollinger RD 2008 Turbot served with Champagne is a wonderful combination of rich flavors and a light creamy fish sauce. Prosecco has a more floral and elegant aroma structure than Champagne. It pairs well with dishes like the well-chilled Villa Sandi La Rivetta and the tuna tataki with wasabi ponzu sauce.
If we go beyond France and add Italy and now Spain, a good Codorniu Cava with lobster tempura with spicy mayonnaise can reveal the unique beauties of life.”
What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?
“First and foremost, on this endless journey, it is necessary to continuously learn and work diligently, never losing one’s enthusiasm. Another crucial aspect is to acquire respected mentors and guides who have proven themselves in our esteemed profession. I feel incredible to have a mentor like Alper Billik, The Founder of Sommdigi, a digital wine learning platform, and himself a CMS Advanced Sommelier. Over the past three years of training, his guidance has been invaluable to me.”
If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?
“Krug Clos du Mesnil 2008 Blanc d Blanc with sea urchin with yuzu and turf sauce can give me a very enjoyable dinner.”
Thank you, Fehmi, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!
Images belong to Fehmi Günsu. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.