At the start of my daughter’s school year, we were invited to a parents’ wine tasting event. The host was Cindy Martin and Dave MacMillan and the tasting was from The Boisset Collection. To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the Collection or Jean-Charles Boisset, its owner, co-founder, and namesake.
Feverishly Googling five minutes before the event, I discovered that the Collection is sold through an Ambassador program (i.e., direct sales) and thought to myself, “okay, here we go . . . a Tupperware party for wine.” As you could guess, my expectations for the quality of the event and the wine flattened.
My wife and I were the first guests to arrive, which was at the Martin’s beautiful cliffside home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We were directed to their deck with endless views of the coastline and the glistening beach below. The table was set and the hors d’oeuvre were placed. I thought to myself, “If the wine isn’t good, at least the views make up for it!”
Cindy quickly came out and introduced herself. She had a warm and inviting smile, which never left her face throughout the evening. Her personality is bubbly and infectious. It was clear there was no getting around having a good time in her presence. Dave joined us shortly thereafter. A more subdued gentleman, but extremely witty and sarcastic with a knowledge base of fun facts that could rival any Trivial Pursuit master. They were the perfect entertaining duo, presenting a balance that could be equally engaging for introverts and extroverts. Not only did we have an incredible view, but now we had incredible hosts!
The evening was going far better than expected as guests trickled in, and Cindy and Dave brought us together in laughter. But in the back of my mind, I couldn’t be disarmed. “The wine, what about the wine?” I feared it was going to be underwhelming and I equally feared a hard sell at the end. Let’s face it, who ever walks away from a Tupperware party with warm fuzzies after purchasing a 12-piece CHIP N’ DIP set?
Once a quorum of guests arrived, Cindy brought out the first wine: JCB NV Nº 69 Brut Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne. I could feel my palms starting to sweat, both from the excitement of what was to come and the fear of disappointment. It was like the moment of truth in online dating; you’ve spent weeks chatting and now you were about to meet in person. Was my heart going to skip a beat or was I going to spend the evening bitter about their mad skills with Photoshop?
As I received the glass, the color was a shimmering pinkish amber which matched perfectly with the sunset skyline. It was clear that Cindy and Dave choreographed this dance time and time again. The bubbles small and consistent. And when I went in, the wine showed excellent brightness and vitality with aromas and flavors of raspberries and strawberries that entranced me. It was crisp and refreshing, just the way I like my sparkling wines. Maybe I was too quick in passing judgment on The Boisset Collection?
Wine after wine, my intrigue grew. They were all solid wines from France to California and authentic expressions of the terroir from which they were produced. Cindy promised us that, absent what we did to our bodies before the event, we would not wake up the next morning with a headache. Each wine in The Boisset Collection is produced from organic or biodynamic farming and is mostly free from added sulfates and 100% free from other preservatives.
Cindy introduced each wine with ease and grace, explaining every facet of the wine in a way that could resonate with beginners and those with advanced wine knowledge. She also paired each pour with food that brought the wine to life. Cindy is a certified Somm and when I asked her why she choose the direct sales path in her wine journey versus the many other opportunities that a Somm has available, her answer was simple, “It’s about connection.” It’s about connecting with the individual over months or years and finding which wines and foods spark joy for them and continually bringing that joy to their lives. This is nourishment for her soul. It’s not about the money, it’s not about the prestige of her title, it’s about the people.
At the end of the evening, there was no pressure tactics to purchase, just a simple card on the table in case anyone wanted to place an order. And many did! It was clear that there was something special going on here. I didn’t know if it was just Cindy and Dave that elevated the evening with their gracious hospitality, or if there was truly something in these wines and their winemaking journey that was unique and expressive. I needed to know more, and that’s exactly what I did.
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