Jean-Charles Boisset has created another uniquely-appointed tasting salon, with all of the fabulous accoutrements which are his trademark: crystal, red velvet, exquisite jewelry, bubbles, and his Surrealist Room – created to “let it all flow” with food pairings and caviar, luxury items, and organically sourced food paired with JCB wines. Adding to this sumptuous tasting experience, you can pass through to Jean-Charles’ Atelier by JCB, a gourmet food retail shop, offering consumption off-site, or on the patio on a sunny Yountville day. Jean-Charles wants guests to “dream, create and taste beautiful things”. All of the sensory experiences in this room allow guests from around the world to enter Jean-Charles’ world, where he wants others to “feel outside the box” and be a little bit eccentric.

Originating from Burgundy, France, Jean-Charles’s entrepreneurial spirit brought him to California, where he fell in love with the historic wineries of Napa and Sonoma. His mission has been to bring them back to life once again, with an unparalleled joie d’vivre. He has brought his two worlds together.

With Betsy Musick onboard (from Benzinger) in the Tasting Salon, and………….. , famous cheese monger from Sunshine Foods in St. Helena, in the Atelier, the team at JCB is top notch. 12 months a year gourmet specialties (i.e. mousse, pates, Portuguese almonds, Iranian apricots, Iberico ham, etc.) can be found on the shelves of this tiny gem. Gourmet sandwiches, “A Taste for Two” ($30), “Grand Cru Tray for Two” ($30), “Cheese and Charcuterie Board” (from $96-$189), and “A Traditional Cheese Board” (from $96-$189), can be ordered with a suggested 48-hour notice to guarantee availability. Walk-ins are always welcome, as well. Three tasting experiences are offered:

“The Surrealist” at $50/pp. (5 tastes) ; “Premium Collection at $40/pp. (5 tastes) , and “Sparkling” at $30/pp. (4 tastes).

Luxury setting, excellent bubbles, exquisite hard-to-find gourmet foods, and a relaxed ambiance with over-the-top warm and knowledgeable staff….What more could your guests desire, as they fulfill their dreams in the world-renowned Napa Valley?

What to know when you go:

6500 Washington Street, Yountville (707) 934-8237

11 A.M. – 7 PM



By Ellen Levin

After the long bus ride to Napa, we were in jubilant spirits as we arrived at our first stop on our CANVAS Research Day. RiverHouse by Bespoke Collection showcases their portfolio of boutique wines while being surrounded by a selection of fine art, antiquities, and objet d’art curated by AERENA Galleries and Gardens. We were graciously greeted by Sophia Tambunting, RiverHouse concierge.

What first strikes the eye as you enter is the eight foot high original surgical lamp from long ago. Karen Johnson, the Gallery Director, has strategically placed the eclectic, whimsical collection throughout the establishment. The abundance of natural light compliments the picture perfect setting on the Napa Riverfront.

They easily accommodated our rather large group of 18 as Jonathan Henson, private client leader, regaled us with stories of Michael Polenske, Bespoke Collection’s founder, owner, and creative director. He is very much a hands on owner, participating daily in all aspects of the business.

Bespoke Collection includes a portfolio of wineries – Blackbird Vineyards, Recuerdo Wines, and Resolute Wines – as well as fine contemporary art galleries and several sculpture gardens. According to Jonathan “the two things we love are wine and more wine. All you need to know about wine tasting is do you like the wine or not.”

Walk-ins are welcome but an appointment is preferred so that each guests receives the ultimate experience. Originally the wines were made by Sarah Gott but since 2005 Aaron Pott has been Blackbird Vineyards principle winemaker.

When we arrived, Elizabeth Russell, a wine consultant, handed us a taste of Dissonance ($32). Dissonance is a bright, crisp Sauvignon Blanc with lush notes of Semillon. The rest of the tasting consisted of four red blends, hence the name Dissonance as it is the only white Blackbird Vineyards produces. The Arriviste Rose ($25) is currently sold out but the 2016 vintage will be available this spring. Arise ($54) is a classic Right-bank Bordeaux style blend using Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc grapes. It’s the most fruit forward and the one you will most see in restaurants. The name Arise comes from the Beatles song “Blackbird”. The next three wines we tasted were Illustration, Paramour and Contrarian ($135 per bottle.)

After the movie Sideways hurt the Merlot industry in 2004, Polenske changed the wine names to Proprietary Red Blend. Illustration, a predominantly Merlot based blend scored 98% in its first vintage. Paramour, a mostly Cabernet Franc blend is incredibly smooth. Contrarian is equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot is aromatic along with bold tannins. The name Blackbird comes from French patrois, or French slang. Merlot in French patois means Blackbird.

After the delicious tasting you’ll be sure to want to peruse the art which is all available to own. Their showcase this month is Aesthete, an expansive collection of furnishings, design, and objet d’art items, from Rococo to Bauhaus. This includes a Philippe Starck chair set, Eames furnishing, Chesterfield sofas, all of which are unusual, unique, and functional. The gallery represents 60 to 80 artists. I was particularly drawn to the wall of comic book art by Brett Hammond.

RiverHouse is the culmination of hard work and exquisite taste in art and wine and a Napa destination not to be missed!

What to know when you go:

604 Main Street, Napa

Blackmail wine membership program: 707-603-8770
Tastings are $55.
Tastings can be paired with a BentoBox lunch from Morimoto next door