Vanessa Massé remembers everything. The table where each customer sat, how they were dressed and, above all, the wines they tasted. We know a few past faces at her home, at her restaurant Pure & V, which opened in Nice in 2018, so we put her memory to the test. Flawless. We are impressed but she doesn’t seem to understand why.
The young woman seems connected to 1,000 volts, speaks quickly and without filter. She has the visual memory of her customers and has in mind the catalog of “tens of thousands of labels” of bottles. Only natural, French and foreign wines. She serves them in her restaurant which ” makes you dream ” : it is written in the Michelin guide, which awarded it its first star in 2020. Such a distinction for a sommelier who owns her restaurant and who only offers natural wines is rare. A year later, the same red guide crowned her best sommelier of the year 2021. She is the first woman to obtain this award. She was just 30 years old.
Vanessa Massé goes fast and she clashes for another reason. She concocts the Pure & V menu based on the wines she has in her cellar and in mind. The bottles dictate the dishes and not the other way around. Logically, she is the boss. She is not the only one to do this but, again, it is extremely rare in a starred restaurant.
“How does red taste? »
Vanessa Massé was born in 1990 in Nantes but not in wine. His French father is a chemical assistant “who doesn’t know what he’s drinking” and his Portuguese mother, a cleaning lady, only likes port. About her background, she replies with a shrug: “Do you see the Tuches? And there it is. » At 15, she is a somewhat turbulent student. To channel it, we choose for her a BEP hotel and catering in Nantes. It was there, during an internship, that a client asked him, pointing to the card: “How does red taste? » Distraught at not knowing how to answer, she goes home and starts logging. The teenager memorizes whole books on grape varieties and the technicality of wine. She continues with a BP sommelier in Béziers, where she is noticed by her teachers. Ludovic Bigel, one of his trainers at the time, passionate about natural wines, remembers a student receptive to these juices without inputs, even though they were in their infancy at the time. “She was very, very, very determinedsays the teacher. She was touched by “nature”, and from that moment, we understood that she had found her way and that she would go exactly where she wanted. »
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