My very first experience with wine wasn’t a particularly pleasant one. I wasn’t quite of legal age *ahem* and my friend had ‘borrowed’ a bottle of cheap white wine from her parents’ liquor cupboard.
In an act of apprehensive rebellion, we drank the warm liquid from plastic cups and I think it took me about three years to erase the bitter, acidic taste from my memory. Upon entering adulthood, I decided to move on to the more palatable option of zingy gin as my chosen tipple, leaving my limited and slightly traumatic wine experience firmly in the past.
When Le Petit Ballon asked if I’d like to review their premium wine subscription service, I figured that this was my opportunity to get on board with most of the adult population and see exactly what is that I’ve been missing out on. I mean, wine is the lubrication of most social situations so there must be an appeal there somewhere!
What Is Le Petit Ballon?
The ideal subscription box for wine lovers and novices alike, Le Petit Ballon is a delivery service with a difference. From just £24.95, every month you’ll receive two bottles of wine that you won’t find at the supermarket. Handpicked by master Sommelier, Jean-Michel Deluc, each bottle is carefully selected for Le Petit Ballon to bring the very best to your own doorstep.
I placed the order for our box online and within a week, it arrived neatly packaged in a sturdy cardboard box. I opted for both a red and white wine, although you do have to option to tailor your own box based on personal preference. Adam is partial to the odd bottle of Rioja and I wanted the opportunity to try a slightly more ‘grown up’ white wine that wouldn’t burn my taste buds off.
Our parcel arrived with a booklet (The Gazette) containing plenty of advice and tips on the origins of the enclosed wines, ideal food accompaniments to the selection provided and more – we definitely didn’t ignore the experts and sample them alongside pizza (!) instead.
Chateau Le Grand Verdus
Non-subscriber price £10.90
Subscriber price £7.90
This white wine is described as ‘a pale gold with green flashes, with a silvery shine that suggests vibrancy and freshness. On the nose, the wine is aromatic, combining notes of white fruits, citrus and white flowers’.
The 750ml bottle was clean, simple and well presented. After leaving it to chill in the fridge overnight, I popped the cork (turns out that we don’t actually own a corkscrew so I had to get creative) and poured myself a small glass.
The sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle grapes worked perfectly to create a light and refreshing wine that was extremely palatable. Smooth and fruity, it had subtle floral notes that would be well suited to an outdoor picnic in the sunshine.
I actually found myself reaching for a second helping (not bad for the woman who had previously disliked white wine for almost twenty years) so it’s certainly something I’ll consider purchasing in the future.
Marianne Wine Estate
Western Cape Afrique Du Sud
Non-subscriber price £10.90
Subscriber price £8.90
Ideally paired with lamb chops, hamburgers, chicken parmentier and more, this ruby red wine reminded me of BBQs and lazy Sunday afternoons with friends. A bold design, the bottle oozed a youthful confidence before I’d even opened it.
I’m not a fan of reds as I often find them far too rich and heavy but, in the name of research, I joined Adam for a glass of Okoma as we caught up on our respective days. Containing syrah, merlot, pinotage, cabernet sauvignon grapes, the aroma of red cherry was swiftly followed by a hint of liquorice.
I sipped slowly and discovered that this wine was sweet, spicy and surprisingly soft; the kind of beverage to be enjoyed over the course of an evening in the garden.
The subscription boxes are ideal for those who are already knowledgeable wine lovers or enthusiastic folk who would like to learn more. The Le Petit Ballon ‘Wine Profile’ will assess your flavour preferences and helps you find wines you’ll love; there’s even the option to buy the Le Petit Ballon boxes as a unique, special gift.
Want to try a Le Petit Ballon for yourself? You can find out more and order here or enter my giveaway below to win a months subscription box. Good luck!
*In collaboration with Le Petit Ballon
T&Cs apply. Ends 23.59 (BST) on 10.06.17