Bacchus gets star treatment by English wine sector

The English wine industry is ramping up its attempts to secure Bacchus as its “poster grape variety” with the news that Chapel Down has released its first Sparkling Bacchus while Plumpton College and Vagabond Wines have teamed up to showcase the grape at this year’s London Wine Fair.

Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus 2018 (rsp: £17), which is now available in Waitrose and select independent retailers,  is the seventh expression of Bacchus that the company produces and it said its “extended knowledge and understanding of the grape variety” led to its head winemaker, Josh Donaghay-Spire, to experiment with carbonation.

The fruit is from the “exceptional” 2018 harvest and it was cool fermented before being carbonated at bottling.

Donaghay-Spire said: “Deciding to carbonate the wine and not to put it through traditional method was a considered choice as I wanted to retain the youthful aromatic components which Bacchus showcases so well. It’s not a wine to discuss and debate for hours or a wine to cellar for years to come, it is an uncomplicated and very refreshing wine to open and enjoy this summer.”

Managing director, Mark Harvey, said: “Bacchus thrives in England and has become something of a ‘poster grape’ for our young, wine growing region. Having produced several expressions of still wines, we are excited to release this sparkling version in time for the summer season.”

Chapel Down has experimented with Bacchus in a number of different ways and its portfolio includes an orange wine, a barrel-aged Bacchus and a single estate Bacchus.

Meanwhile, Plumpton College and Vagabond Wines have teamed up to showcase the varietal at this year’s London Wine Fair, which runs until May 22.

This includes a free pour tasting of Bacchus wines at the Plumpton College stand while lecturer, Tony Milanowski also hosted a masterclass “Getting to grips with Bacchus” in the Education Zone area of the Fair.

He said: “Bacchus is the UK’s most popular still wine and is highly successful due to its unique varietal character. The opportunity to present our alumni’s Bacchus wines to a global audience at London Wine Fair is very exciting for us. In the masterclass I examined the aromas and flavours of Bacchus to show the audience what makes it so special and why it is championed by so many British growers. It will certainly be an insightful scientific presentation into Bacchus wine quality as well as sharing a tasting of Plumpton College’s Bacchus fermentation trials.”

The following producers will be showcasing their Bacchus wines on stand EZ101: Chapel Down, Flint Vineyards, Forty Hills Vineyard, Hattingley Valley, Lyme Bay Winery, Plumpton Estate, Stopham Vineyard, Vagabond Wines, Urban Foxes Winery, Winbirri Wines, The Winery by Lanebery Wine and New Hall Vineyards.

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