When it comes to wine subscription boxes, Le Petit Ballon is one of the most popular ones on the market, and 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 he knows a thing or two about fine wine!).
Their boxes are shipped monthly via courier into the UK, and subscribers will receive a set of Tasting Notes written by Jean-Michel Deluc, which explain that month’s chosen wines and how to fully appreciate them. You’ll also get a copy of Le Petit Ballon’s mini-magazine called The Gazette, which always has some interesting features on food, wine and culture.
March’s Le Petit Ballon is themed around Asian Cuisine (which is quite different from what I was expecting!) and features a bottle of red and a bottle of white, as part of their Grape Expectations subscription.
Domaine Entras La Gelotte 2016 – IGP Côtes de Gascogne (12.5%)
Heading straight for the red, this wine is full of Gascon charm which represents the very best of this south-west region of France. Created by the Domaine Entras estate, this family-run business has been taken over by the son, Michel, who returned from backpacking around the world to share his on-going passion of fine wines with his friends and family. La Gelotte 2016 is a fruity and spicy combination of a triple grape blend which features Tannat, Malbec and Merlot. The latter two are two of my favourites to look out for in a good quality red wine, so I had a feeling I was going to like this!
The first thing that you’ll notice about this wine is the aroma; it’s very fresh and has noticeable juicy notes of Cherries, Pepper and Liquorice. In the glass, it has a beautiful deep ruby colour with purple highlights. Taste-wise, it’s a real treat, as it’s very fruity and powerful with crisp tannins, but still feels refreshing and young at the same time. A lovely red to enjoy with a variety of Barbecued Meats and delicate French Cheeses.
La Manufacture L’Atelier – Viré Clessé 2016 – AOP Bourgogne (Mâconnais) (12.5%)
Moving onto the white, we have a different kind of wine. Produced by La Manufacture, this company doesn’t own any vineyards, but instead chooses to collaborate with passionate wine-makers and growers around the Burgundy region. This allows them to create unique blends that take inspiration from a wide range of influences and styles, and their one key principle is excellence. Every wine that they select must pass their rigorous testings to be able to bear the La Manufacture name, so that customers always know that they are receiving the very best that the area has to offer.
This wine has a brilliant golden colour in the glass with silver highlights, which is complemented by a wonderfully fruity aroma that’s very fresh and awakening. Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, it has a perfectly balanced and classic taste, which is fruity and has a slightly chalky minerality underneath all of those White Fruit flavours. A gorgeous Chardonnay which pairs well Grilled White Meats, Seafood dishes, Vegetable Gratin and herby Goat’s Cheese.