Fun Tasting Experience
Jean-Charles Boisset’s newest tasting salon is one-of-a-kind and totally over the top.
by Alex Rubin
If Marie Antoinette and Philippe Starck worked together to design a wine-tasting destination, it would look a lot like the new JCB Tasting Salon and Atelier by JCB in Yountville—the latest experience from Jean-Charles Boisset. The extravagant French proprietor of the Boisset Collection, who is known for his lavish parties, adds this new tasting spot to his wine empire, which spans the Burgundy region and the South of France to the Napa Valley and the Russian River Valley.
The salon comprises a tasting room—where you can sit at a communal table beneath chandeliers or lounge on a leopard-print couch with your wine glass in hand—and a small boutique in which Boisset sells women’s jewelry and men’s accessories, some of which he designed himself.
In the tasting room, the vibe pushes the edge of garish. Gilded mirrors hang from the ceiling. Gold and leopard print are splashed throughout the room. Glass cases lining the room display luxury goods—which are available for purchase—such as Lalique and Baccarat crystal, Christofle silver, Bernardaud porcelain, and books on travel, leisure, and art.
Of course, there is also plenty of wine—bubbles, whites, and reds. Three different tasting flights of at least four wines apiece are available, including one that is administered on a digital touch table—created exclusively for Boisset—that provides information on each wine, featuring images and general descriptors such as “exquisite” and “inspiring.”
The boutique ups the kitsch factor with red velvet drapes and a center tasting bar resembling liquid gold pouring to the floor. Here you can buy the broach that adorns bottles of The Surrealist wine—a piece that depicts Boisset’s profile on both sides of a goblet full of wine.
Walk through a set of glass doors with bronze angel-wing handles to go into the atelier. This is where you’ll find a gourmet épicerie that offers an array of delicacies. A center case presents cheese made by local purveyors alongside imports from France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. Charcuterie and smoked salmon, plus locally sourced honey, marmalade, olive oils, and vinegar are also available in abundance. Word on the street is that fresh bread is flown in from France every Thursday or Friday.
Associates suggest allowing 90 minutes for the full JCB Salon and Atelier experience. We suggest lingering longer.
Reservations recommended, tasting prices start at $30 per person. 6505 Washington St., Yountville, (707) 934-8237, jcbcollection.com.