May 06, 2022

New Wines for May

By Ben Whitfield
New Wines for May

 As a Whitfield Wines follower, I suspect you agree with Thomas Jefferson’s words describing wine as a ‘necessity of life’.  Worth considering though, the term need is ‘something required for a safe, stable, happy and healthy life’ and according to most (not all) economists, should be distinguished from a want, or something that is desired, that increases quality of living. A big question then, is a glass or two of good premier cru Chablis or a perfectly made French rosé a need or a want?

Pictured is the Beqaa valley where it all started, (see Massaya wine, below). 2,500 years ago, for the Phoenicians, wine was firmly in the needs department, as it was one of the only safe ways of staying hydrated. We know Phoenicians didn’t invent wine - that was in Georgia eight millennia ago - but they were responsible for spreading winemaking across the ancient Mediterranean and also for the early planting of vitis vinifera varietals, from which all grapes used to make wine today descend. 

Dramatically increasing wine prices will likely sort our modern needs from our wants in the wine buying department in 2022. Global warming effects grape harvests, the pandemic has driven demand hard for all wines and inflationary pressures on materials (bottles, corks, the lot), plus huge energy costs leave no wine price unchanged. In fact, a bottle of wine priced at about a tenner now, may have less than two pounds allocated to the actual grape juice and those two pounds continues to fall as input prices increase. Government duty increases don’t help either. Spending £20 on a bottle will more than triple the amount dedicated to the wine itself.

So as purse strings tighten and we decide to stay in, good wine becomes more of an affordable luxury than a staple and as consumers we want to make sure we are getting the very best bang for our buck. When you need a bottle of Tuscan red on a Friday evening at home after a tough week, you want to make sure you have got the very best for the money you are spending. We can take comfort in knowing that although we may be spending more on that bottle, it is great, and not marked up in a restaurant.

Finding the good stuff in that £16-£25 range for drinking at home, as prices increase across the board, is paramount, especially if you tend towards staple-level consumption! At Whitfield Wines, we endeavour to remain ‘never knowingly undersold’ and are always committed to the best expressions of terroir, grape and winemaker.

Three exciting NEW wines for May:

First, a wonderful white from the shores of Lake Garda, Ca dei Frati 'Brolettino' 2019, made with 100% Trebbiano and a huge amount of skill, it has a real Burgundian feel to it, and is a classic restaurant wine too - Locanda Locatelli for one - -as a best-in-class Veneto white. 

Second, Chiave di Saletta IGT Toscana, 2016 is a fabulous Super Tuscan from the Saletta estate near Pisa, a classic wine from this glorious estate, owned quietly by Guy Hands of Terra Firma fame. 2016 an amazing vintage.

Finally - and here is the Phoenician link- an exciting departure to Lebanon, the Beqaa Valley in fact, and ancient stone’s throw from the Temple of Bacchus. This brilliant red Massaya 'Le Colombier', Beqaa Valley, Lebanon 2019 (see photo, above) is a proper restaurant wine, on the list in cool spots across the capital, and put together by some of the best from the Rhône Valley, the Vieux Télégraphe team.

Lots of other wines to explore too, do check out the Whitfield Wines rosé selection as well as light reds and elegant whites perfect as the weather gets warmer.  

Happy perusing,




Perfect for May – why?

Price (£)


Domaine Cheysson Beaujolais Blanc L'Exception’



Incredible value White Burgundy, quirky in that is made in Beaujolais. A classic Whitfield Wine, priced to stock up.

99(case of 6) –

16.50 bt

Domaine Jean Paul Balland, Sancerre Blanc



Sauvignon at its blinding best; intense, balanced, and complex, from best terroir in the appellation.  Has beaten a lot of competition to become my house Sancerre.


113.40 (case of 6) - 18.90 bt

Caves Yves Cuilleron, Viognier 'Les Vignes d'a Côte', Rhône



My baby Condrieu, made by Rhone royalty, perfect for early summer as an aperitif or with dinner. all peaches dried fruit and white flowers and achieves brilliant balance in response to Viognier's low acidity.


108 (case of 6) –

18 bt

Montenidori Vernaccia di San Gimignano 'Tradizionale'



Quickly becoming a big WW favourite, bold gorgeous, golden Vernaccia di San Gimignano deeply textured yellow fruit with staying power and an unmistakeable tang. Organic, very low in sulphur. Just perfect for early summer!


119.40 (case of 6) - 19.90 bt


Chateau Roubine Côtes des Provence Rosé Cru Classé “Cuvée Premium"



This has elegant, dry sweetness so sought after with top class rosé. A real premium product.

In our opinion, this 'growers' wine is a superior product to the more famous names from the heart of Provence - the Miravals and Whispering Angels of this world.  It is an insider’s rosé of incredible value and let’s face it in 2022, so much cooler. 


114 (case of 6)

19 bt

Domaine Sylvain Bailly Sancerre Rosé



If you are a Sancerre Rosé fan and love its elegance and pinot noir fruit drive, this is a light and refreshing dry rosé with fresh, ripe, red berry, floral rose and mineral notes on the nose and palate. Brilliant with poultry and fish dishes too. If you haven’t tried it and usually stick to the south of France for your rosé, perhaps today is the day.


112.50 (case of 6) -

18.75 bt

Quinta da Boa Esperança, Atlântico Rosé



This rosé is very special. Made from the grapes - Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Castelaõ - the ABV is 12.7% so it’s perfect for hot days. It’s a complex and textural rosé. Crisp berry fruits with a juicy, singular acidity and a healthy lick of Atlantic salinity. Sells in many of the best fish restaurants in Devon & Cornwall.


120 (case of 6) -

20 bt


Domaine Bruno Sorg, Crémant d'Alsace



Bruno Sorg at his sparkling best, with the freshness of chardonnay, fineness of pinot blanc and the richness of pinot gris. Perfect for long barbeques and a Tuesday night treat in the garden.


112.50 (case of 6) 18.75 bt

Gallimard Champagne Pere et Fils



Whitfield Wines’ house champagne with its tantalising pinkish hue and pinot noir mouth fill. Such an exciting growers’ champagne, and staggeringly popular with those lucky enough to try it.


159 (case of 6) 26.50 bottle

Magnums 55


Thymiopoulos Xinomavro ‘Jeunes Vignes’, Naoussa



New last month, and what a brilliant early summer wine this is.  Incredibly smashable. In the words of Jancis Robinson: the unoaked young-vine red is the bargain … What I like about this wine is its beguiling (but not simple) raspberry fruit on the nose and front palate and then the way it finishes with a slightly astringent note of cinders. It’s not unlike Nebbiolo in build.”


88.50 (case of 6)

14.75 bt

Langhe Nebbiolo Simane, Reverdito



100% Nebbiolo, the wine has deep, delicious red fruit notes you expect from the grape variety as well as hints of liquorice and tobacco.  These are soft wines, light in body, but still with plenty of backbone and authority. You will love them, and they are drinking now!


93 (case of 6)

15.50 bt

Domaine Clotilde Davenne, Irancy



Pinot noir made near Chablis, wines from Irancy are right on message at around the £20 mark. Proper tannins balancing the cherry-driven fruits, this is a perfect companion for strong meaty dishes followed by lots and lots of French cheeses.  A second bottle is almost inevitable. 


132 (case of 6

22 bt

Rosso Braida, Barbera/Cab Sav/Merlot



SO proud of having this wine on the list, as it is the archetypal restaurant wine, in that it was specially made by the Hawksmoor team and is in all their restaurants, even the new one in New York. Perfect for steaks of all kinds    made at home too.


114 (case of 6)

19 bt

Brunello di Montalcino, Cortonesi La Manella



Really hard to get away from this, it has been on my lists since day one, and is brilliant value at under £40 for a beautifully made Brunello.  Sangiovese heaven, and excellent early summer red drinking. Treat yourself while I still have the 2016, a better vintage than the 2017s in Montalcino.

231 (case of 6)

38.50 bt