suehan: I only translated the content related to BYJ.
Sommelier, Lee Joon Hyuk, recently released a book, “Wine & People” containing interviews of several famous people. He connects wine to the interviewee’s life and tells stories about his/her works, loves, successes and failures. His book has a total of 15 famous and honest stories of actors including Bae Yong Joon, Kim Hyun Joong, Lim Soo Jung, Choi Gang Lee, Baik Yoon Shik, director Lee Joon Ik, and others. He also shared useful information about decanting, breathing, and keeping wine. The publication is so meaningful because all of its profits will be donated to UNICEF Korea and Korean Federation for Environmental Movement.
Bae Yong Joon
2005 Domaine de la Romanee Conti, Romanee Conti
At the interview with Bae Yong Joon, Lee Joon Hyuk pulled the cork of from a bottle of wine, a 2005 Domaine de la Romanee Conti. Romanee Conti is regarded as “the best wine on the earth.” Lee Joon Hyuk considers it the most suitable wine for Bae Yong Joon, who is one of the best actors in Asia, not only in Korea. Romane Conti is the most expensive wine in the world. That’s why it’s extremely rare to find someone who has tried this wine. Whoever has tried it even once can’t forget the taste of it.
Bae Yong Joon recommended the publication to Lee Joon Hyuk. They casually met in 2007, and have closely befriended since then. Lee Joon Hyuk came to Korea for the publication of his book for a short time and stayed at Bae Yong Joon’s house.
“We met right after he had finished the filming of “TWSSG” and became close friends right away because of our similar taste in wine. He even suggested that I write a book about the stories of wine and people. I started to write a book because I was interested in his opinion about people’s stories, not just wine. But it wasn’t easy. (Haha)”
Bae Yong Joon, who was one of his interviewees, opened Bae Yong Joon’s house in Seongbuk-dong for the first time. Bae Yong Joon’s house was under repair before moving, but he actively helped Lee by rushing the wine cellar installation for the photo shooting for his book.
“It was just like visiting the artist’s house. It was a plain house with many books and art, and there wasn’t any expensive furniture. There was a tearoom. According to him, it was his favorite spot. Hyeong (BYJ)’s favorite teas were deokum tea (suehan: roasted tea) of Korea, puer tea and cheolgwaneum tea of China, and mal tea of Japan. I saw a spinning wheel make china and made me think that he had a deep knowledge of arts. He said that he would use dirt, trees, and rocks if he builds a house himself. (laugh)”
Bae Yong Joon is a famous wine lover who likes installing a wine cellar at the basement. His wine cellar was equipped with various kinds of wines. It is said that his collection is limitless since he has been collecting one or two at the local wine store and whenever he has traveled abroad. There are inexpensive daily wines and expensive wines as well. Whenever his acquaintances visit his house, he hosts a blind wine tasting, not telling its price, kind, origin, and vintage. He really likes to see them concentrating on its flavor. It’s said that he can even distinguish between a “1982 Château Mouton Rothschild” and “1982 Château Latour”. They are very difficult wines to distinguish; only experts can tell the difference.
It’s said that he started gaining interest in wine when he traveled to France alone in the middle of the 1990s. He got to the hotel and tried a few bottles of wine that he purchased. He wasn’t able to taste any special flavors at that moment, but when he tried the wine again the next afternoon, its astringent taste disappeared and the soft flavor remained. The air and wine caused oxidation and it made the taste and flavor soft. He was fascinated by its elegant, brilliant flavor and started enjoying wine since that time. That fortunate wine was a “1982 château Margau”.
Mr. Bae lives in the neighborhood and enjoys rice and soup which is worth of $2.50.
Bae Yong Joon’s nickname listed on Lee Joon Hyuk’s cell phone is “Mr. Bae in the neighborhood”. They used to live in the same area, Samseong-dong. They got close quickly because of the close proximity and their love for wine. Now, they live together and even travel together.
“We once went to the wine tasting event which was held in Busan. It was a good opportunity to taste the best Romanee Conti vintage wines, but I drank them all, even his, because he had to drive. I fell asleep and even snored in the car. He told me later that I was the first person who fell asleep while he was driving (laugh). He told me that he asked his managers not to drive excessively, because he realized how hard it was when he drove to Busan and returned to Seoul. He is truly a caring person.”
He said that Bae Yong Joon carries a humble attractiveness, not like top stars. It seems that he has a feast every meal, but he enjoys $2.50 rice and soup and cooks at home. He is known as a perfectionist of self-management. He said that he always sees Bae Yong Joon on the running machine the next morning after drinking together the night before. He also said that Bae Yong Joon is talented in various areas other than acting such as taking photos, art, and even cooking.
“Hyeong (BYJ) enjoys taking photos as much as he likes carrying both film cameras and digital cameras. He held an exhibition at Mori-Gallery in Japan. He said that he had to click the shutter when he felt something while looking at a subject. He said the techniques could be improved, but not the feelings.”
Once, he met Bae Yong Joon and a photographer, Bae Byung Woo. At that time, they talked about the professional aspects of camera models and camera techniques. On that day, a photographer Bae Byung Woo suggested shootings in Jeju to Bae Yong Joon who was interested in having shoots.
“Hyeong injured his neck while filming “TWSSG” and he was hospitalized in the early part of this year. He still suffers from it. Meanwhile, he enjoys reading two or three books a week. I am often surprised by his excellent knowledge and way with words. It probably comes from his energetic reading.”
It is said that he eats food that is a little bland and insufficient. He cooks very well and even makes kimchee. He learned how to cook from his mother’s dishes and cooks with recipes from cookbooks. As a younger brother, he is sad to see Bae Yong Joon remain single even though he has everything he needs.
“He joked by saying, “How can you get married before me” when I had gotten married. I hope he meets a nice girl. His ideal girl is a physically and spiritually well-balanced girl.”
He appeared in KBS’s drama “Dream High” shortly, and he has had time to recharge himself. But, it is said that he plans to return this year and it seems that it is likely we will see him on TV.
“I asked him about his dream at the end of the interview. He said that he wanted to set up an art school or farm. He said his dream has been changed while acting. Recently, he has a new dream to provide a clean environment to our children in the future. It is him. He is truly a great man who is more than just a Hallyu star.”