Jean-Charles Boisset Wine Event

International wine makers Jean-Charles Boisset & his wife Gina Gallo are THE power couple of the wine world so I jumped at the chance to be part of his Alchemy of the Senses tour when it came to New Orleans.  Hosted at The Cannery, a venue I was honored to have helped open, this was a perfect time to work in their built-in lighting & sound systems to create an unforgettable event.  Toulouse Gourmet Catering, who works on-site at The Cannery as well as elsewhere, prepared a menu that would perfectly pair with the wines that Jean-Charles had selected to feature that evening.  Now all I had to do was design a flawless event around these amazing other elements, the best in the world.  No pressure!  ha ha

Jean-Charles is one of those people who walks into a room and electrifies it with his presence & energy.  He has a strong sense of style & of course, I adore the name of his book, The Alchemy of the Senses, for obvious reasons.  Rather than doing red tones and animal print, which are often associated with him & his tasting rooms, I wanted to do something surprising for his guests.  Unique & fun, like Jean-Charles himself, while still giving them an elegant evening with the world’s finest wines.  Although, we DID add some animal print throw pillows at the two head chairs as a nod to his signature look.  I also incorporated other subtle playful elements like gold polka dot taper candles to go with the gold beaded charger plates we brought in, along with other rentals, from Element.

I’m known for production elements & felt like this would be the perfect opportunity to work some in so I started with the flavor profiles of each of the five wines he would be presenting that evening.   Based on that, I created an experience for each course that would be served & kept the tables neutral to ensure they reflected each of the settings for the evening.  We tapped Jessica the Photographer to capture the evening for us but she also creates beautiful balloon sculptures so she created one to invoke the bubbles they would be drinking at different points in the evening.  She also consulted with us on the lighting so we made sure to select tones that would photograph the way we wanted them to while looking beautiful to the natural eye as well.

Guests enjoyed a social prior to the dinner beginning where they could sample various Boisset wines as well as purchase merchandise such as his book, Baccarat decanters or his amazing jewelry collection (including lips created after his wife’s own).  The JCB spirits collection also made an appearance in their gorgeous bottles.  I was tipped off that Jean-Charles is a Lady Gaga fan so we put some of her music on for guests to enjoy while socializing.  Meanwhile we were doing a final lighting sequence run through, as you can see in these videos below.

As the curtains to the ballroom were drawn open, guests entered to find a spectacular table with soft white lighting, candles & a John Legend playlist, since the first course was paired with his collaboration with Boisset, the LVE Brut Blanc de Blancs.  This opens with citrus & white flower aromas, bright and fresh with notes of guava, toasted almonds and brioche.  Toulouse Gourmet paired it with a salad which was brought out as John Legend’s “So High” played.  Jean-Charles asked me to come out and speak to his guests about how I’d worked in the lighting & sound elements as they would explore the “alchemy of” their own senses throughout the evening.  Once I had introduced each course, Jean-Charles spoke with his guests about each pairing more in depth, often sharing anecdotes or even singing himself.   I’ll also include the playlists for each course, in case you’re interested.

As the second course, a soup trio, came out, the room turned to a golden yellow to accentuate the JCB No. 81 Chardonnay with notes of lemon marmalade & a creamy texture.  This unfiltered chardonnay also has hints of vanilla, barrel spices, citrus and lemon which conjured up images in my mind of Paris in spring.  Thus, the song selection kicked off with “Les Amants de Paris” by Edith Piaf to usher in our light, bright chardonnay.

Our third course was shrimp & grits paired with the JCB No. 3 Pinot Noir, a dark sexy wine with macerated cherry intermingled with anise, cocoa, au jus & a hint of rosemary.  This was the opportunity to bring in Jean-Charles signature red color along with one of my favorite singers, Maxwell.  As the food was served & the lighting changed, his song “Lonely’s the Only Company” began to play, bringing that sexy vibe to our ears as the lighting, food & wine brought it to our other senses.

Oh, the JCB Leopard, the famous Cab/Syrah blend in the unmissable bottle!  This amazing wine was paired with a beef entree and with notes of smoked earth, chocolate & black currants I couldn’t help but think of some smokey jazz.  So we colored the room blue and pulled out an amazing playlist kicked off by “Why Don’t You Do Right” by Nicole Russin-McFarland.

The evening ended with the incomparable JCB Surrealist which was served following dinner & before the dessert.  This amazing wine opens with a very spicy nose with earth and pepper aromas and notions of cassis, blackberries, cedar and toast with hints of violets and menthol.  Going with the sexy, spiciness of this wine, we switched to a deep purple color & a playlist filled with Santana & Camila Cabello.  This amazing wine even features some of his signature jewelry pieces on the bottle!

To see more about this amazing event make sure to visit the photographer’s blog:

Jessica the Photographer

Additional videos can be found on the Alchemy Events channel on YouTube as well.

Thank you to Torch Media NOLA for this professional video of the night!