“This place represents a dream I’ve had forever,” says Jean-Charles Boisset introducing his media guests to the new JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier in Yountville. Boisset sketches and designs all the places of the JCB Collection himself, and his character shines through in each unique experience.
The opulence of 17th century French court tastes are represented in rich color with leopard prints, curved table legs, and crystal chandelier conveying Boisset’s fascination with history and luxury lifestyle.
Boisset is French, but this is not about francophilia. “I think I was born American; I was raised with American values,” says Boisset, “and I’ve been the biggest promoter of American wine.” It is about celebrating history and culture, both French and American, and about the very American idea of having a dream and living it.
The Graceful JCB No3, a Pinot Noir blend from Burgundy and Russian River Valley, is the embodiment of that Franco-American adventure. Boisset admits that it was a challenge to find the right vineyards that would work together for the blend, which in no way diminishes the achievement.
The JCB Collection as a whole is a mix of French and American wines, and with the new atelier takes that idea a step further offering the best luxury food brands from around the world in one place.
“Atelier is a place where you craft,” says Boisset, “here we have 1,200 products, 200 brands from people who craft.” The quality of the curated products is essential to the concept with just two or three of each thing, as is having a knowledgeable staff that can educate the visitors and communicate the luxury wine living experience that Boisset wants to create and share.
History, education, and French opulence might not sound fun, but merged in Boisset style, humor and entertainment is essential to the experience. “Most people just want to enjoy wine,” says Boisset, and the tasting lounge is designed to be an inspirational journey and lounge for people to enjoy the wine in new and different ways.
Mixed in with the wine, jewelry, art and luxury goods on display are curious and wacky things like, an interactive digital wine tasting table, strewn ceiling mirrors, as well as an S&M display case. And during the visit Boisset decided that the characteristic red JCB socks on display in the surrealist room (he was of course also wearing a pair himself), needed to be turned upside down.
Unfortunately, not everyone who visits the JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier will be able to have Boisset as their host with his wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm, but they will still be able to experience his character. Boisset is the JCB Collection. He’s not the winemaker, but he stylized the wine, selected the mix of wines from the regions he loves, curated the food and the art, and created the unique tasting experience.
By Kim Johannsen