3rd September, 2014 by Simon Howland
Jacques Boissenot, one of the world’s most influential wine consultants, has died aged 75.
Jacques Boissenot at work.
One of the most prolific wine consultants of the late 20th century, he rarely ventured outside of the Médoc where, alongside his son Eric, he worked out of a small laboratory in the Médoc village of Lamarque.
In 2013 the pair were named the drinks business’ most influential wine consultants.
Boissenot deliberately maintained a low profile and was known for his humility and discretion by almost 200 clients including four of the five first growths and numerous other prestigious Left-Bank estates.
A student and later business partner of Emile Peynaud, the “father of modern winemaking”, Boissenot was renowned for his light touch, for bringing out the best in his wines and his rare skill in expressing the terroir of different estates.
Indeed, Vincent Faure, technical director of Château Sociando-Mallet, described Boissenot as “monumental and a great talent” and as “one of the very few who could be compared to Peynaud.”
Born in Beirut in 1938 where his father served in the military Boissenot didn’t try a bottle of decent wine until his late teens and fell into wine almost by accident after his first career choice in veterinary medicine didn’t work out.
A friend suggested wine and Boissenot went on to study under Peynaud at Bordeaux’s oenology department and, after he finished his studies in the 1960s, was asked to set up an official oenology lab in Pauillac.
In 1970 he set out on his own and again met up with Peynaud, who recruited Boissenot to act as his second in command until his retirement in the 1990’s.
Jacques has integrated his son Eric into the business over the past years, efforts appreciated throughout the Médoc as it means the succession from Peynaud to Boissenot still has at least one more chapter.