Date set for ‘first’ 100% English Bacchus tasting

A website specialising in English and Welsh wine is preparing to host a panel tasting focusing solely on the Bacchus grape.

The varietal Bacchus wines that will be on tasting at (Photo: Great British Wines)

The varietal Bacchus wines that will be on tasting at Great British Wines’ August panel tasting (Photo: GreatBritishWines.com)

GreatBritishWine.com, a specialist website aiming to boost interest in the English and Welsh wine industry, is planning series of panel tasting articles focusing on varietal wines produced in England.

The first, to be held on 13 August, will focus on what is fast coming to be regarded as England’s signature white grape, Bacchus. GreatBritishWine.com believes it is the first such tasting to do so.

The UK’s third most-planted variety after Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Bacchus has recently been in the spotlight following several high-profile awards.

Norfolk-based Winbirri Vineyards’ Bacchus 2015 scooped four trophies at this year’s English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition, organised by the UK Vineyards Association (UKVA).

On Saturday 13 August, the Great British Wine team will meet to taste many of England’s finest Bacchus offerings, with wines representing the regions of Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, East Anglia, Devon, Dorset and Worcestershire.

The tasting will focus on many of the latest (2014 & 2015) Bacchus releases selected wineries. Also included will be a few of the more innovative examples, including an oak-fermented Bacchus Fumé and a dessert wine made from frozen, botrytised Bacchus grapes – Hattingley Valley’s Entice.

A comprehensive article will be published on the GreatBritishWine.com site based on the results of the tasting with a view to bringing Bacchus to a wider wine-drinking audience.

“The buzz over the last few years has all been about English sparkling, but now it is time for English still wine to enter the spotlight,” said owner of GreatBritishWine.com John Mobbs.

“No longer can Bacchus simply be seen as England’s lighter alternative to Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh, distinctive and punchy, typified by citrus, elderflower and hedgerow notes, Bacchus is quintessentially English.”

In March, db reported on a Bacchus research project being undertaken by Flint Vineyards in East Anglia. Flint winemaker Ben Witchell said he believed the Bacchus grape could help to cement England’s claim to being a major cool-climate winegrowing region.

Bacchus is a Riesling/Sylvaner and Müller-Thurgau cross-breed grape bred in Pfalz, Germany, in 1933. According to Wine Grapes, it was first planted in England in 1973 and became a recommended variety in 1998.

Bacchus tends to be Sauvignon blanc-like, displaying similar levels of thiol-like aromas. Thiols are the chemical compounds responsible for grassy to tropical notes.

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