Getting the perfect bottle of wine for your dinner party, one that will compliment flavours without overpowering, can be a nightmare. You may have spent years perfecting your beef Wellington recipe to impress friends and family alike, but an ill-chosen bottle of plonk can quickly undo all those refined seasoning measurements and to-the-minute timings.
On the flip side, who has time to spend time exploring their local wine shop for that perfect bottle — especially when your main course could be burning in the oven. Time restraints make panic buying all too easy, with the most impressive label or a familiar vineyard making it into your basket over a bottle that could actually elevate your meal.
"An ill-chosen bottle of plonk can quickly undo all those refined seasoning measurements and to-the-minute timings..."
So, instead of falling into familiar dining dilemmas, why not consult the experts at Le Petit Ballon to save you and your dinner party.
Founder of the wine delivery brand, Martin Ohannessian, decided at the age of 30 that he didn’t know enough about wine and found wine tasting classes confusing and stuffy. So, in true entrepreneurial style, he decided to find a way to present wine knowledge simply and offer bottles for delivery.
Today, Le Petit Ballon will drop some of the best wines from France — and further afield — straight to your doorstep. But, other than the logistical, what benefits are there to a wine subscription. Pour yourself a glass, and allow us to enlighten you…
You don’t receive just any old wine
With a curated service, such as the one offered by Le Petit Ballon, every wine is handpicked from the best vineyards around the world. And you’re in safe hands — master sommeliers are in charge of the wines offered.
At Le Petit Ballon, that’s Jean-Michel Deluc, one of the top sommeliers in the world, and the former master sommelier of the Ritz in Paris.
Each bottle will have been rigorously taste tested
Rather than choosing your dinner party bottle on the strength of the label alone, the bottles you’ll be uncorking with a wine subscription service have been selected on the strength of their tastes, as they should be.
Jean-Michel Deluc also heads up Le Petit Ballon’s tasting team, and has the lucky job of trying over 1,000 bottles a month, scoring each out of 20. Lucky for you, only the wines that score 17 or above are even considered to make the final cut, ensuring that only the best make it to your table.
These are not supermarket shelf wines
Waitrose, be gone. These bottles are not your usual supermarket plonk. It’s true that these days you can get very good bottles on the high street or in superstores, but subscription services go one step further, introducing limited runs and special editions that huge corporations can’t justify.
"These bottles are not your usual supermarket plonk..."
With Le Petit Ballon, the wines come from prestigious appellations and lesser-known family-run vineyards alike, with some even produced exclusively for Le Petit Ballon. If one thing’s for certain, you can ensure you’ll be the only guest at the dinner party with this particular bottle.
They can afford to focus on one region
These smaller companies, and brands that send their wines remotely, can afford to focus on just one region to get the best bottles, and hidden gems that you would never find in supermarkets or even your local wine shop.
Le Petit Ballon, as their name suggests, was grown in France, and based in Paris. As this is where they grew their connections, the focus is mostly on French wines. They’re constantly on the ground, and connecting with growers old and new to ensure that you get the best. Local knowledge, from afar.
You can easily bluff being a wine connoisseur
We all want to be wine experts. If you say you don’t, you’re lying. Who doesn’t want to be the Alpha of the dinner table, confidently taking the wine list from the waiter and getting the vino lingo bang on?
Thankfully, most subscription services come with easy to understand tasting notes, which inform you the best foods that pair with your wine, the best temperature to drink and serve it, how to keep the wine, and what to look for when smelling and tasting the wine. You’re an instant expert — as soon as you uncork.
They don’t break the bank
It may sound like a luxury, but many wine subscription services don’t actually break the bank — Le Petit Ballon included. Subscribers to Le Petit Ballon get at least 20% discount on all the bottles in the online shop.
"It may sound like a luxury, but many wine subscription services don’t actually break the bank..."
And that means that if they send you a wine you love in your subscription, it is easy to buy another bottle at the best price there is. That’s another great thing about these services: Even if you wouldn’t have picked a bottle up off the shelve, get it delivered, try it and you may love it.
The tips keep on coming
It’s rare that you’ll find a wine subscription brand that will just send you a bottle. Most will include notes or even longer-reading literature to further your enjoyment of every bottle.
With Le Petit Ballon, that’s The Gazette. Delivered with every bottle, it’s a magazine full of insider tips, vineyard contacts and special event invites for subscribers. Wine and wisdom? What more could you ask for?
Subscribe to Le Petit Ballon today with code GENTLEMAN10, and receive £10 off any subscription, valid until 22nd June 2018
Le Petit Ballon
If you’re in an subscribing mood, why not pop over to the Gentleman’s Journal Club page and sign up for a VIP subscription?