Jean-Charles Boisset is an almost ludicrously charming bon vivant whose winery holdings include Buena Vista, Raymond, JCB, and more. In Passion For Wine: The French Ideal and the American Dream, Boisset joins forces with writer and Boisset ambassador Marnie Old to produce a coffee table-styled tome designed to offer a somewhat unique perspective on the world of wine.
The book offers a very breezy tour of wine history, wine regions, and the winemaking process before moving into the meat of the book, an investigation into the sensory aspects of how wines smell and taste and even feel on the tongue. If you’ve ever visited Raymond (and if you haven’t, you should), you know how critical these sensory elements are to Boisset, and the “Corridor of Senses” there is a delightful investigation into aromatics. You can’t exactly replicate this hallway in a book, but you can get the gist of it — and the lush, full-color illustrations and photography on literally every page make the concepts come alive. Curious why one wine costs $10 and one costs $100? Passion for Wine explains.
There’s no aspect of the wine world that doesn’t get at least a page or two of coverage here, and that’s really how the book is designed to be read — one spread at a time, then closed for another day. There’s even a section that offers specific wine selection ideas, and (of course) a lengthy pictorial look at Boisset’s various properties.
The book is never short of engaging and fun. That said, the cover is a bit much.
A- / $50 / [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]