Jean-Charles Boisset and me
Those who know Jean-Charles Boisset, the Vintner, Entrepreneur and Man of Mystery, realize that he cannot do things that fit the norm. When he decided he wanted to write a wine book, it couldn’t be about grapes and barrels. He wanted to focus on the transformative nature of wine using the concept of your five senses and Alchemy of Senses came to life.
Jean-Charles created the Alchemy of the Senses book over three years as “an experiential voyage through your dreams, your emotions, your senses, and your passions as influenced by wine.” The second definition of the Oxford English Dictionary is a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. And this book makes Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible look small. It comes inside a black velveteen box with a gold pendulum, mirror and even a Ouija board inside. Alexander Rubin did all the photos. The book weighs in over 10 pounds. And, it costs $395.
Jean-Charles knew he couldn’t have a standard book tour. So he set off on a 12-city tour in 2019 that was a display of decadence to share his book, wine, spirits, cider, jewelry, perfume, candles and glassware under the “Alchemy of the Senses” idea.
Jean-Claude Boisset has been passionately involved in wine in both the US and France as well as a designer of jewelry, glass, candles, perfume and spirits. The Boisset wineries are a family-owned collection of 20 wineries in the Côte d’Or, Beaujolais, Rhône Valley, California’s Russian River Valley and the Napa Valley. Boisset also owns the Oakville Grocery in California.
As the dinner started in Dallas, which was at a French chateau, he told us the concept about having this last supper (the meal was literally the last meal that he wanted to eat) was that “he wanted to challenge people to explore each of their five senses as well as discover their sixth sense of intuition and connection.”
He brought that to life in our dinner with the amazing food, exquisitely set table, wines, Baccarat crystal and flowers. In his book, he outlines who he would invite to his Last Supper meal —Salvador Dali, Thomas Jefferson, Lady Gaga, Gandhi, Mickey Mouse, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, and Walt Disney and his wife, Gina Gallo. He asked his guests at dinner to think about their list.
And because he is Jean-Charles, he also told us many colorful stories as he talked about the decadence of the meal we were about to have. Before we were seated, we drank JCB Gala French Sparkling on the patio as the sun went down
He was correct about the decadence, here was the line-up:
Quail Eggs and Caviar, 2016 JCB No. 81 Chardonnay
Saumon a l’oseille Cream and Sorrel sauce, 2012 JCB No. 3 Pinot Noir
Westholme Wagyu NY Strip Rib of Beef, Crab gratin, Morel mushroom, Summer vegetable, 2016 Passion by JCB
Epoisses, Brillat-Savarin, 36-month aged Comte, 2013 JCB No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon
Déclinaison de Chocolate, 2014 The Surrealist by JCB Cabernet Sauvignon
As we tasted through each course and watched Jean-Charles interact with each table like a consummate host clearly loving every aspect of this tour, it was evident that he understands how to sell a luxury brand. He views the world differently, turns the wine world on its head and takes a non-traditional approach. It’s fun to watch.