April 04, 2022

April Wine Letter

By Ben Whitfield
April Wine Letter

The clocks went forward, and we enjoyed a miniature heatwave in mid-March. All our summer radars were up and running as we emerged blinking into the sunshine. We went in search of rosé, summer clothes and vitamin D replenishment, and anything that might feel like an end to the grim rolling news from Ukraine and cost of living debacle, as we lurch from crisis to crisis in 2022.

Ten days later we have sleet, snow and frost in the UK, and we were all reminded of the expression ‘Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out’. The heating is back on and 50% more expensive but as we face our challenges so too do wine makers in Chablis (see photo). As in 2021, they are placing hundreds of candles across their vineyards before daybreak. This helps to warm the vines and prevent the destruction of already well-developed shoots by temperatures that have plunged below freezing. Not a great start for the 2022 vintage.

Despite the confusion around exactly what season it is, tastings have been done, and decisions made, and we have some exciting new wines for April at Whitfield Wines. This should ease us all into early summer and perhaps herald better days.

At Whitfield Wines we now have four rosé wines - three from France and one from Portugal. The Triennes is available in magnums and double magnums, and I think the price is very hard to beat. Think of buying rosé as like choosing champagne – we seldom suggest buying from producers with the biggest marketing budgets, largest production, or the most famous owners.

Our quest to curate a selection of brilliant whites from Italy continues with an elegant Vernaccia di San Gimignano, discovered in a Florence restaurant and also a wonderful Riesling from Alto Adige, truly a sommelier’s favourite.

Some elegant Whitfield Wines from Sancerre & Pouilly Fumé as I have reset our selection of whites from the Loire valley with some changes you must read about.

On the red wines, I have started my series on pinot noir from Italy with a wine from the mountainous Aoste region on the border with France. I will present a new pinot every month.

Also, a focus on value for money and what we call house wines here, that is wines to have in good amounts at home, that can be consumed any night of the week, on any occasion: a wonderful Chianti; a popular producer of Côtes du Rhône in London restaurants and a remarkable xinamavro wine from the Greek mainland.

Finally, If you are focused on eating steaks at home to wait for all these crises to blow over (something I can relate to), I have tracked down a unique blend from Braida; made in Piedmont for the Hawksmoor wine team to accompany the results of your home barbecue escapades.

For April, please do order your case or three by Sunday 10 April - delivery by Easter. 

*Buy April Wines*

Last chance to express an interest in Burgundy *En Primeur*