5 Reasons We Love The Haute New JCB Lounge At The Ritz-Carlton SF

Jean-Charles Boisset entertains guests at the JCB Lounge inside The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
Jean-Charles Boisset is the center of attention in the JCB Lounge, located on the lobby level of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Photo Credit: Scott Chebegia

It’s been awhile since we first let you know that Jean-Charles Boisset, the flamboyant Frenchman with wineries in Napa, Sonoma and France, was bringing wine country to Nob Hill with the JCB Lounge inside The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. Now open, this haute spot is where you definitely want to pop in when you feel like going wine tasting but don’t want to fight the traffic or you’re simply looking for a luxurious and intimate place to sip during the day or before dinner. Here are five reasons we think you need to make the opulent JCB Lounge your next stop.

The Wine

From bubbles to Cabernet Sauvignon, the JCB Lounge offers the most decadent, exquisite and limited-production wines from the JCB Collection. We particularly love that you can taste a Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, a 1st cru Burgundy and a Pinot Noir from Mendocino all in the same collection—the Chardonnay & Pinot Noir Collection, which also includes a Pinot Noir from the Sonoma  Coast and the very unique JCB N° 3 where Pinot Noir grapes from two separate continents combine for a spectacular product. Two very special bottles, in our humble opinion, are the The Surrealist by JCB and the JCB N° 10, a delicious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Exclusivity

Step inside this gorgeous space and you won’t—trust us—want to step out. When we’re here, we feel like this is our own private playpen. Of course, we’re happy to share with visitors for this is the kind of place that attracts like-minded people that you’ll want mingle with—unlike at some bars.

Food Pairings

The days of nibbling on a stale cracker while wine tasting went out of style with the Trans-Am. Today, oenophiles are all about enjoying their vino with some serious bites. That option doesn’t get any better than at the JCB Lounge where you can enjoy your tasting flights with specially curated food options from Chef de Cuisine Michael Rotondo of the hotel’s award-winning Parallel 37. Your Pinot will taste all the better with the wild mushroom tartlet with pickled ramps Rotondo created. Dungeness crab cake with apple vanilla puree, Flank Steak Steam Bun with horseradish and medjool date jam and a huckleberry pate de fruit with dark chocolate ganache are a few more dishes we had with our JCB wines. Some wine club members have taken this a bit farther and have been known to feast on eggs benedict and scrambled eggs with caviar—but you didn’t hear that from us.

The Decor

Purple is the color of royalty, which is just what you’ll feel like inside this posh jeweled box. Raise a Baccarat glass to Joshua Rowland Interiors, the same firm responsible for the chic and sexy Red Room at Raymond Vineyards in St. Helena and the gorgeous Bubble Lounge at the historic Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, for outdoing itself once again. Animal print carpet accented with matching pillows, a liberal yet still restrained use of gold and a stunning Baccarat chandelier that dangles precariously over an eight-person glass, sit down table make for a sensual yet sophisticated space that includes a four-person bar and two banquettes.

The Retail Offerings

Is there anything more fun than sipping fine wines and shopping at the same time? We think not! The JCB Lounge boasts a fabulous selection of gifts ranging from JCB-branded items such as custom-designed jewelry, candles, wine accessories and perfumes, to select merchandise from Baccarat, Christofle, Bernardaud and Goyard available for purchase. You can check many people off your holiday shopping list while you taste lovely wines. Now that’s haute!

JCB Lounge, lobby level of The Ritz Carlton, San Francisco, 600 Stockton Street, (415) 296-2329; Open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tastings range from $50 to $100 per person.

Photography by Scott Chebegia