Bacchus, Kenton Vineyards 2014, Devon, England
On the west side of Devon’s beautiful Exe Estuary, nestling in the foothills of the Haldon Hills, lies Kenton Vineyard. Planted in 2003 on an old farm, the south-facing slopes and sandy soil, together with the mild and sunny climate are ideal for growing vines and ripening grapes for wine production. This small, family-owned, boutique winery produces wines that sell out fast with every vintage release.
Bacchus is a German white grape variety that is perhaps most notable for the production of crisp white wines in England. It is a crossing of Müller-Thurgau and Silvaner, though some experts suggest that the cross included Riesling. Bacchus wines are fresh and aromatic, showing grapey, citrus characters. The cross was obtained in Pfalz, Germany in the 1930s, although was not sanctioned for use in commercial wines until the 1970s. Although it is most famous for its use in England, Bacchus is still planted in volume in Rheinhessen and Franken, where it occupies vineyards in locations which are too cold for the ubiquitous Riesling.
England produces some of the best expressions of Bacchus with the better results coming from cooler vineyards where yields are tightly controlled. Most growers aim for medium-sized yields, as Bacchus can overwhelm the palate if the grape’s flavour is too concentrated. Due to its herbaceous nature, the variety has been touted as England’s Sauvignon Blanc.
This is a highly aromatic, slightly off dry wine with classic Bacchus elderflower notes. Who knew England could produce such a fantastic white wine!