I work as a corporate transactions attorney. I’m married and am a proud, and adoring, aunt to several nieces and nephews. I was born and raised (and still live) in Minnesota, but have a strong connection to my French family whom I try to visit annually in France. I was first exposed to wine through my French family, especially my father and grandfather – a bottle of wine was often shared with meals; there was an appreciation and enthusiasm given to the qualities of a wine and how it complemented the meal. I relish the thought that my interest in wine stems from these familial roots.
Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine?
Vanessa Denis: In addition to family influence, I developed a passion for wine when I realized how it offers endless learning opportunities in a wide variety of subjects, like history, agriculture, climate, global trade, geography, geology, science and technology, etc. It also inspires me to think that wine, when shared with friends and family, can create moments worth savoring and cherishing. For me, it represents being present – “stopping to smell the roses” – in life. And you can almost literally do just that when you take time to account for the various facets of a wine you’re consuming – the nose, color, texture, structure, mouthfeel, the level of acidity, tannins, terroir, the presence or absence of fruit, oak, etc., how it lights up your palate and finishes.
D: What wine region are you wild about right now?
VD: My latest intrigue/interest is Walla Walla Valley, Washington for its Cabernet Sauvignon .
D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried?
VD: Wine coming from a varietal (Frontenac) that was born out of scientific research and development at the University of Minnesota and can grow in subzero (as in 30F degrees below zero) temperatures.
D: What is your golden rule for wine?
VD: Only drink wine you enjoy! I also think it’s important to explore new and different wines, but if you come across something that isn’t thoroughly enjoyable to you, don’t drink it. Wine is not a basic need – I believe it’s something that should truly enhance, augment and complement an experience.
D: Say you’re not allowed to have wine, what is your second option?
VD: Peach-Pear La Croix sparkling water.
D: Choose a movie, book, quote or song and pair it with wine.
VD: Adagio for Tron, by Daft Punk. It’s a modern twist on a classical piece of music. I would pair it with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Château de Beaucastel .
D: If you were a wine, what wine would that be?
VD: I would aspire to be a wine with a strong character and foundation; one that has dimension and complexity, is well-balanced, offers an understated elegance, and is worthy of aging.