Most of the Burgundy wine producers that we import from are farmers, flat capped, ruddy faced almost yorkshire-like! (It’s probably why we feel so at home with them!). Not our man Henri Boillot, Henri is more the demure, serious, intense perfectionist type, the artist, a Van Gogh.
When my father and I were first invited (it is introductions by invitation only!) to visit Monsieur Henri Boillot I had only been in the wine industry for 12 months or so and I was quite nervous. He spoke no English to us and was very serious looking at us as if to say ‘why should I sell you my wines?’ He didn’t smile throughout, but as I left I did my best ‘Uriah Heap’ impression and said “thank you, it’s been like a dream for me”, the corner of his face cracked, it wasn’t a smile, rather the start of the upturning of a lip on one side, quivering, threatening to smile, and that was it, we got in the car and left. Ten minutes later we had a phone call, ‘just like the man from Del Monte’, “Ok he sell you some wine man!”
So every year for the last eight years we have been to visit and we have always been told what we can have. All of Henri Boillot’s wines are sold on allocation, his wines are available in celubrious outlets such as Harrods and Fortnums and our own humble establishment.
Two years ago I took my wife Sarah for the second time and she remembered that on her first visit Henri Boillot’s second wife had just had her first baby, so, being what now transpires to be a brilliant military tactition she performed a pincer movement, out flanked Henri and asked, “How’s the baby?” in English. The next thing I know, out comes the iphone and he’s happily showing off the latest cub in his pride. “Tell this man he can have anything he wants!” belowed Henri in English, and so for the last two years my allocation has been upped from one pallet of about 600 bottles to three!
Henri now extends us the courtesy of talking to us in English, and we in turn bring him huge packs of Yorkshire tea!
To see what Henri Boillot wines are available on our wine list click here