Le Petit Ballon is a French wine subscription box where all of the wines are hand-picked by the famed sommelier Jean-Michel Deluc (who has previously worked as the head sommelier at the Ritz Hotel in London – so this man knows his wine!). Every month, you’ll receive a delivery that comes in a shockproof box and inside, it’ll contain two bottles of wine and a copy of Le Petit Ballon‘s magazine, The Gazette, which is always a pleasure to read as it’s full of interesting articles on wine, food and culture.
October’s box is themed around the infamous Wine Fair, and features a bottle of white and a bottle of red as part of the Grape Expectations subscription option, so let’s take a closer look at these below.
Château de Malijay – Mistral Charmant 2017 AOP Côtes du Rhône (13.5% vol)
Described by Jean-Michel as a charming and delicate white wine, this bottle from Château de Malijay is a remarkable Rhone blend that’s been expertly created by Aude Deltin and his hard-working team at Malijay. Situated on the slopes of the Dentells de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux, Château de Malijay benefits from soft, warm sunshine throughout the year which results in some beautiful fruity wines.
This particular wine features an interesting blend of many grapes such as Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Viognier which gives the wine an almost light green colour in the glass with shiny silver reflections – it’s quite unusual but very pretty! On the nose, it has a delicate aroma and on the palate, it’s soft and fruity with flavours of Apricot, Pear, Peach, Lemon and Honeysuckle. It pairs well with Chicken and Tarragon, White Asparagus, Seafood Risottos and cheeses such as Gruyere and Emmental.
Château de Jau – Le Petit Jaujau 2016 AOP Côtes du Roussillon (14% vol)
For the red selection this month, there’s an extra special bottle from Château de Jau which is a fruity collaboration between a winemaker and a wine merchant. This vintage is universally pleasing and would make a wonderful transitional drink into the Autumn months. It’s a true gourmet wine and comes from a famed estate in the beautiful Côtes du Roussillon villages.
I love the panda illustration on the front of the bottle which adds an element of fun to this wine, so I was excited to try it out. In the glass, it has a stunning ruby red/purple colour, and on the nose, it’s very fruity with an expressive aroma. Taste-wise, it’s powerful, complex and again very fruity, with a low level of tannins and juicy flavours of sweet Black and Red Fruits, combined with more floral notes of Violet and Peony. I enjoyed it a lot and it goes well with Cold Meat dishes, Barbecues, Burgers, Vegetarian Pizzas and fresh Goat’s Cheese.