The festive season is just around the corner, but if you’re getting in the mood to celebrate earlier, I’m sure you’ll love this month’s Le Petit Ballon, which features two exceptional French wines!
If you haven’t heard of Le Petit Ballon before, they are a wine subscription service that sends you a selection of high-quality French wines every month. 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. With years of knowledge and expertise under his belt, you can rest assured that the wines that you’ll be receiving will be the very best.
Accompanying the wines, you’ll also find a copy of Le Petit Ballon‘s magazine, The Gazette, which is always an enjoyable read and has features on wine, food and culture. This month’s theme is based around Wine and Truffles, so you’ll find lots of delicious sounding truffle recipes to enjoy with your selected wines! As usual, I received one bottle of white and one bottle of red as part of the Grape Expectations subscription, so let’s try them out!
Mas du Soleilla Bringaïret 2012 – AOP Languedoc La Clape
I was in the mood for glass of red on the evening that the box arrived, so I opened up the Mas du Soleilla Bringaïret 2012 first. Produced in La Cape which has a warm and fresh Mediterranean style climate, the grapes here soak up all the sunshine, resulting in juicy, ripe and fresh wines. This cuvée Bringaïret is created from a tri-blend of grapes (Syrah, Grenache and Carignan) and represents some of the very best wines that come from this region with its deliciously fruity, spicy and rich flavour.
In the glass, this wine is dark and opaque and yields an aroma of Black Fruits, Tobacco, Licorice and Oriental Spices. Taste-wise it is most impressive, with a powerful, complex and overall fruity flavour with lovely hints of Spices. It pairs well with a variety of meat and fish dishes, as well as stuffed aubergine sides and cheeses such as Camembert. I think this is such a beautiful wine to serve at a dinner party, especially during the run-up to Christmas!
Domaine Bérénas Insolite blanc 2015 – IGP Pays d’Oc
The white wine this month is just as celebratory as the red above. Made by one of the great estates in Languedoc, the Domaine Bérénas sadly experienced the premature death of its head wine-maker, Christophe, back in 2013, but his friends were determined to carry on his life’s work and took over the running of the estate to keep his memory alive. The estate produces fine reds, but the white wines are just as good and are highly recommended by Jean-Michel who wanted to include this one for Le Petit Ballon.
This wine is made from the most famous white grapes; Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, and it’s this combination that gives the wine such a rich and mineral taste. It has a fresh and vibrant colour which couples nicely with the aroma of Honey, White Flowers, and Citrus, all with a hint of chalky Minerals due to the unique environment where the grapes are grown. The taste is a lot richer and stronger than I was expecting (also pointed out by Jean-Michel in the tasting notes!), but it is wonderfully fruity, spicy, complex and powerful. A stunning white to enjoy with dishes such as chicken tarragon and langoustines.