BEFORE FINDING HER GROOVE in the world of sommellerie, classically trained oboist Véronique “Véro” Dalle worked the restaurant floor to supplement her income as a freelance musician. In doing so, she discovered a fascination for all things vinous, eventually enrolling in the sommelier program at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, where she would also teach.
This set her up for the next two decades of living and breathing wine and putting an indelible mark on the Montreal wine scene through her work at Pullman, since 2004 one of the city’s most respected wine bars.
Then Dalle decided to spread her wings. In 2019 she took the position of hospitality director at Foxy, the sleek and stylish Griffintown restaurant owned by long-time friend Dyan Solomon. When Foxy’s sommelier left, Dalle returned her focus to wine — and food. She hired Catherine Couvet Desrosiers, formerly a junior sous at Manfreds in Copenhagen and a chef just as passionate about the alchemy of food and wine pairings. Dalle feels it is essential for chefs to possess a strong interest in wine.
At Foxy, she has constructed her balanced list pragmatically, with traditional offerings alongside the esoteric. “As in music, I believe you have to do your scales before you can interpret more wild stuff,” she says. Wines from Catalonia, southwestern France, Greece and Italy, as well as a few from Quebec, command her attention right now. She is also a fan of Quebec ciders, which she believes deserve recognition.
“For me, the wine list is not just a wine list. It’s a form of expression and it’s very important that I pass a message through it. I don’t buy for myself; I try to find what’s best for our guests and the food we are serving and to understand that in a profound way.” Her ambition, she says, is to make the restaurant a wine destination — and Dalle is well on her way.
Photos: Dominique Lafond