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Trend for English ‘orange’ wine growing

A trend is developing in England for “orange” wine production with two skin contact wines made from white grape Bacchus due to come onto the market.

The Litmus Wines team are experimenting with orange Bacchus
The Litmus Wines team are experimenting with orange Bacchus

Chapel Down in Kent made 1,000 litres of skin contact Bacchus for the first time last year. The wine was fermented on its skins for a week using wild yeast and aged in oak for nine months.

Wine consultancy and contract winemaker Litmus Wines has also jumped on the orange wine bandwagon with an own-label skin contact Bacchus.

The company is aiming to raise the quality of English still wines via careful fruit selection, minimum intervention and extended ageing in barrel.

As part of the project, five tonnes of “well ripened” Bacchus from Kent was macerated and fermented on its skins.

“The beauty of working in a larger winery is that we are able to take risks. The wine looks good, aromas of quince and matchsticks have replaced the typical Bacchus characteristics of nettle and herby notes,” said Litmus’ director and chief winemaker John Worontschak.

“The palate is also very promising with a bitter pithy peach character, a fleshy, rounded mouthfeel and firm tannins. We’re excited for its potential as it has surpassed our expectations,” he added. Around 4,000 bottles of Litmus Orange Bacchus are expected to go on sale.

Widespread until the 1960s in Italy, orange wines, so called due to the colour extracted from the skins, had largely disappeared until recently but are back in fashion again.

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