Call Central Casting and request a flamboyent French winemaker who epitomizes joie de vivre and bonhomie, and they’d probably send you Jean-Charles Boisset.
Boisset is the scion of a famous Burgundy family who in recent years has embarked on a major US acquisition splurge, buying up Deloach, Raymond, Buena Vista and Gina Gallo – no wait, he married Gina Gallo, in the wine equivalent of a royal wedding. It was the most celebrated Franco-American collaboration since SpaghettiOs, or at least since Robert Mondavi embraced Baron Philippe de Rothschild and begat Opus One.
The Mondavi connection is apt – Boisset and Gallo bought the late wine icon’s Napa Valley residence last year. More recently, the esteemed wine writer Dan Berger, who is not one to go ga-ga very easily, bestowed Mondavi’s legacy on Boisset’s shoulders because of the Frenchman’s efforts to restore Buena Vista winery in Sonoma County to its historic grandeur.
You may have seen more than you care to of Boisset in the documentary Mondovino. Well, it turns out he can act, too. He does a hilarious turn on Jordan winery’s blog as part of a tryptich of videos called “Real Winemakers Read Wine Spectator Reviews.” It’s a play on Real Actors Read , and well worth the few minutes it takes to watch.
Boisset sends up Wine Spectator editor Thomas Matthews’ writeup of a dinner at Le Cirque. In other installments, Darrell Groom spoofs another Matthews piece and John Jordan plays it straight while channeling former Spectator scribe James Suckling, who is so over-the-top that he needs no dramatic rendering.
Aside from being funny, these good-natured videos are a sobering reminder to us wine writers that we frequently write on the precipice of absurdity.