Le Petit Ballon is a monthly French wine subscription box and they’re one of those boxes that I always look forward to receiving. What makes them special is that all of the wines are handpicked by the famed sommelier Jean-Michel Deluc (who has previously worked as the head sommelier at the Ritz Hotel in London), so the quality is always impressive and it’s a great way to try wines that have been chosen by an expert!
In addition to the wines, subscribers also receive a copy of The Gazette (Le Petit Ballon’s mini magazine on wine, food and culture), as well as Jean-Michel’s Tasting Notes so that you can try your wines like a true professional.
This month’s Le Petit Ballon is themed around Women in Wine and features a bottle of red and a bottle of white, as part of their Grape Expectations subscription.
Château Goutte D’Or – Esprit des Clos 2015 – AOP Blaye Côtes-de-Bordeaux (14%)
Described by Jean-Michel as a ‘little Bordelaise gem!’, this beautiful red wine is produced by Château Goutte D’Or which is situated in Bordeaux. The estate is run by Sandrine Haure who takes great pleasure in ensuring that her few acres of vineyards are 100% organically grown, allowing the grapes to fully express themselves without interference. I’m always on the lookout for more organic wines, so this was a real treat to find in this month’s box!
Composed of 80% Merlot grapes and 20% Cabernet Franc, this red has a deep purple-red colour in the glass and has a surprisingly delicate fruity aroma. On the palate, it’s bursting full of flavour with lots of Red Fruits and Spice, mixed with hints of toasted Oak and Licorice. It’s powerfully fruity and pairs well with Roast Beef, Steak dishes, Salmon and Blue Cheeses, as well as my personal favourite, Camembert. A delicious wine indeed.
Domaine Pfister – Pinot Blanc 2016 – AOP Alsace (12.5%)
Moving onto the white wine, this month’s choice is a splendid one with Jean-Michel commenting that Pinot Blanc from Alsace is one of his absolute favourite wines for an aperitif and I couldn’t agree more after trying this top choice. The Domaine Pfister was originally founded in 1780 in Dahlenheim, a popular wine-making village 20km west of Strasbourg. Melanie Pfister took over the family business in 2008 and is amongst the eighth generation of vine-growers in the Alsace region, but most importantly, the first woman of the family lineage to take control of the estate. Well done Melanie!
I was very excited to try this one and it didn’t disappoint. When you open the bottle and pour it, your nose is welcomed with a crisp and fresh aroma, whilst in the glass, it boasts a beautiful pale gold colour with bright silvery highlights that suggests its youth and freshness. Taste-wise, this is a very fruity Pinot Blanc that has notes of Green Apples, Citrus Fruits and Melon, as well as hints of White Flowers, and a clean, smooth finish. It pairs well with Ham dishes, Sushi, Oysters, Fresh Goat’s Cheese and White Asparagus. I really enjoyed this wine!