July 01, 2021

Whitfield Wines July Letter Introduction

By Ben Whitfield
Whitfield Wines July Letter Introduction

I am delighted to introduce you to my new ad/venture ‘Case by Case’ from Whitfield Wines. This is the soft launch of a ‘side-hustle’, so I am contacting friends (that’s you) who may become founding ‘members’, whose feedback and views I really value and most importantly who all enjoy really good wine at volume but may have less time than you would like to source it!  Please do let me know what you think.

The concept is really simple.  Month by month, case by case, I curate a very small selection of European wines of outstanding quality.  These may be the recognisable hits from the restaurant menus that I know well, wines that have shone at professional tastings and that are hard to find outside of the trade. I am offering them at a price that is unlikely to be bettered, and in most cases cheaper than what you need to pay in London. 

I do all the leg work, so that you can serve wines at home, (call them your ‘house wines’), that are guaranteed crowd pleasers, perfect across all settings, for drinks, for dinner with guests or for quiet nights, even for taking to friends’ houses.  No longer will you need to rush to Majestic, gambling on a bottle or six, nor photograph a label when you are out, in the hope you may be able to find the wine later. Importantly, as you are short of time, you need never worry that you will run out of wine again.

You will also be safe in the knowledge that you have a fridge or cellar filled with wonderful, high-quality wines bought for a brilliant price, that is likely to be from a well-known, perhaps hard to access producer from a top region in Europe.  These are not mixed cases, nor are they ‘best wines under a tenner’.  I will find you magnums where I can, and names that will always impress.  All delivered to your door (in London) for free. Mostly I will be targeting wines in the high teens pricewise.

The idea is that when you sign up to ‘Case by Case’, I send you a monthly missive, with a few ideas and stories.  You decide on a minimum of a case of wine (or more), delivered each month. Every month, you can try something new or can just reorder your favourites (subject to availability).

Further down the line there will be a discrete invitation only online shop front and a subscription system that will make the whole process even easier, but in the meantime, I thought I would kick things off by presenting to you four absolute favourites of mine - gorgeous and good value wines perfect for the summer.

Let me know if you would like a case (or three) and which wines you fancy, and I will deliver the wines to you myself next week. Payment details and T&Cs are at the bottom of the email. A case is 12 bottles but can be comprised of 2x 6 bottles, of course.


Very best wishes for the summer,  




Case by Case: July 2021


IDEA ONE: Chardonnay – Chablis:

As the search for value in White Burgundy becomes more and more challenging, I thought some guidance towards one of the most exciting producers in Chablis would be a great place to start.  


Gilles et Nathalie Fèvre I have met twice at their vineyards in and around Fontenay-Près-Chablis; they got together at University studying to become oenologists and much of the land they produce from has been in the family for 100 years. Their daughter Julie is now part of the team (see below, with her Mum). They are brilliant, and their wines reflect their dedication and honestly; you can feel the love in the wine!  They are absolutely delicious, mouth-watering, benchmark examples of pure, incisive, concentrated wines. If you like Chablis, you will love these! Most of the production stays in France and what comes to the UK is often nabbed by the restaurant trade, so I am really lucky to be able to offer these fine Chardonnays. 


A brilliant team – Nathalie & Julie Fèvre showing ‘les garcons’

how it is done in Chablis.

IDEA TWO: Sauvignon Blanc - Pouilly Fumé:

My second wine comes from the Loire Valley, in fact only a couple of hours drive from the Chablis region. Drinking Sauvignon Blanc can be confusing as it can differ so much according to region or country, and in France the names give no indication of the grape variety.  Of course, the Loire is famous for those – with the Sancerre and the Pouilly Fumé classifications; geographically very close, mostly very similar in style, they are wonderful cool climate Sauvignons 

I couldn’t decide where to kick off from, so went with one of the most famous producing families in both - André Dezat (well in fact his sons and grandsons now, see below). Dezat is a rock star name in both Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé.  Below are the different generations!

Domaine Thibault has astonished with its quality since their first PF vintage in 1984 won a gold medal in Paris. Low yields and assiduous care taken both in the vineyard and cellars ensure a great wine with a pedigree second to none. It is a wine that I never tire of drinking, every time a bottle is opened it delights and thrills. I cannot recommend it enough – and the price is pretty amazing too.

IDEA THREE: Sangiovese (red) grapes – Brunello:

Number three producer is so exciting.  Some of you may know that I have an ongoing love affair with the Sangiovese grape, particularly from around Montalcino in Italy.  It’s tough to recommend a real crowd pleaser red wine as summer may be upon us any second (or may not!), something to be enjoyed on warmer evenings, but not so light in body that it will put others off.  I try to keep my ‘house wine’ maxim in mind at all times. 

A brilliant connoisseur I know recently spent several weeks in the region, searching for consistency, value and quality all wrapped into one Brunello producer that would work across the restaurant trade in London.  The Cortonesi wines are the result of that search and the wines sell like crazy at Italian legends like Bocca di Lupo in Archer Street.  They are brilliant value for Brunellos and if you have not been and want to see a new part of Italy, I cannot recommend a visit enough.  It is utterly gorgeous with wonderful food and masses to see and drinking Sangiovese on warm evenings is the most natural thing in the world.

Tommaso Cortonesi’s grandfather bought La Mannella in the 1970s. The estate spreads over 56 hectares, eight of which produce Brunello di Montalcino. The major vineyard is around the winery at La Mannella, just north of Montalcino itself, but there is another vineyard near Castelnuovo dell’ Abate, to the south east of the town. 

The Rosso di Montalcino comes from vines planted in 2011 and is aged for one year in 30hl Slavonian oak botte.  Annual production is between 12,000 and 14,000 bottles, so fairly small.  It has a very delicate colour and is delicate in style though stands up to ragu! This is a final parcel of the 2014 Brunello (a blend of La Mannella & Poggiarelli – each slightly different altitude and soil), which is drinking superbly, and offers amazing value for money! In 2014 just one Brunello was made, a blend from the best fruit from the two separate vineyards. The wine is made entirely from Sangiovese and is aged for 40 months in large oak barrels, then a further six months in bottle, before release. It has a very delicate colour and offers a tight knit, bitter cherry fruit character. The 2016 is hotly anticipated and will be released later this year.  If you have not tried Brunellos before, you will never look back, I cannot imagine a better house wine.

Both the 2014 Brunello and the 2018 Rosso are incredible value and should be snapped up as they will not be priced at these levels again. I really think the Rosso di Montalcino is the most luxurious every day red imaginable! 

IDEA FOUR: Coteaux D’Aix-en-Provence Organic Rosé

I always think we are a little over exposed to rosé in this country, and I had decided not to include one in my inaugural Case by Case letter. We often go by the lightness of colour as consumers, and we can be unsure what constitutes really top-class rosé.

I tasted the Tour Campanets recently, and I just had to share what I think of as one of the most exciting rosé producers in Provence, with magnificent terrain and very limited production; this is as thrilling as a successful insider trade! Syrah 40% - Grenache 40% - Cinsault 20%, so a typical blend; it is completely delectable; complex, refreshing, explosive in flavour, with a kind of sophisticated moreish-ness that is rare in rosé that nowadays gets away with mediocrity because of its branding and the fun you are having when it is on offer!