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Chapel Down orange wine released

With the trend for orange wine production on the rise in the UK, this week sees the first commercial release of an English orange wine, made by Chapel Down.

Chapel Down Orange Bacchus 2014 has gone on sale this week priced at £20 and will be targeted at the premium on-trade and independent wine merchants.

Described by the Kent-based producer as “unashamedly different”, the 12% abv wine is made from ripe Bacchus grapes grown in Kent from the 2014 vintage.

Made by chief winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire, the Bacchus grapes were de-stemmed and left to wild ferment in contact with the skins, adding additional aromas, tannin and complexity to the wine.

The fermentation was completed in fifth fill French oak barrels for additional weight and depth on the palate.

According to Donaghay-Spire, the Bacchus boasts “intense aromas of smoky stewed apple, hints of citrus rind and an
almond-like bitterness on the palate”.

With England increasingly becoming known for Bacchus as a white variety, I was eager to explore its potential.

“Bacchus is often compared to Sauvignon Blanc, however our orange Bacchus has added weight and depth of flavour with a rich palate and an interesting tannic edge that makes it ideal for pairing with smoked meat or oily fish,” Donaghay-Spire said.

“England is gaining a deserved reputation for world-class sparkling wines, but I hope our orange Bacchus demonstrates the quality of English still wines,” he added.

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.

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