Le Petit Ballon is a unique wine subscription service where, every month, you receive two bottles of fine wine selected by renowned Master Sommelier Jean-Michel Deluc.
|The June 2016 Apprentice Subscription Box Selection|
Monsieur Deluc certainly has some impressive credentials – from being head sommelier at the Ritz in 1984 to being recognised as one of the best tasters in the world after participating in Starwine in the US, a wine competition that brings together the top 60 tasters in the world.
The Petit Ballon team put together wines from the winemakers they meet at fairs and expos and from wineries who have sent them samples and this tasting panel, presided over by Jean-Michel decide on the monthly wines which subscribers receive.
There are two levels of subscription – Apprentice (£24.90 per month for two bottles inc. delivery) and Master (£39.90 per month for two bottles inc. delivery). The Master subscription contains slightly more prestigious labels whilst the Apprentice subscription aims to introduce wine lovers to great value wines from vineyards you would never otherwise have discovered.
In addition to your monthly two bottles, you receive the Gazette, a mini magazine which includes all sorts of interesting information about your subscription and tasting notes for your two bottles.
|The Gazette contains all sorts of interesting information|
We were sent the Apprentice subscription box for June to try. It contained one red (Le Grand Verdus 2012) and one white (Domaine de Pouilly Clos de la Condemine 2014), together with probably the best tasting notes I’ve ever seen.
Not only do these include Jean-Michel’s views on the wine but there are full tasting notes and recommendations for the food and wine pairings that will work best. You are advised how long you can lay the wines down for, which temperature the wine should best be served at and the wines are categorised further as to whether they are fruit, spicy or woody for example.
|There are many ways to categorise your wines!|
So far we have tried the red, Le Grand Verdus and found the tasting notes to be spot on, describing the wine as being supple on the palate and having a nose which is grapey, pleasant and fresh.
What makes Le Petit Ballon different is that the service punctures lots of the pomposity surrounding wine tasting whilst introducing you to the facts you really need to know to help you to make better choices with your wine purchases.
We have been members of a rival wine club for years and find that the Le Petit Ballon’s subscription prices are very reasonable, as is the price of extra bottles if you want to buy your favourites. There is a decent discounted price on each bottle (20%) for subscribers but anyone can buy Le Petit Ballon’s wines to try.
You can buy a Le Petit Ballon subscription as a gift and it’s ideal for those who want to learn about wine or, with the Master subscription, a great way to introduce wine connoisseurs to new wines and help them to build their own wine cellar.
You can also customise your monthly wines by choosing them in advance on the website so, for example, if you prefer red wine, that’s no problem.
Boxes are sent out between the 15th and 20th of each month, just in time to perk you up from any mid month slump.
A Le Petit Ballon subscription is ideal for those of us for whom a date night is a rare occurence – particularly when you think that one large glass of wine tends to start around the £6 mark and rises steadily depending on the restaurant you choose and your location.
And I don’t need to say that it would be an ideal gift for some of us mums who need a tipple at the end of a fraught day. (And without sounding like your mum, you will mind your units and drink responsibly, won’t you?).
Le Petit Ballon are very kindly offering a 3 month Apprentice subscription to one lucky winner. Entry is via the Rafflecopter. UK entrants only and you must be over 18. Terms and conditions apply. The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Saturday 16th July.