For many of us, the first image conjured up by the word ‘Bacchus‘ is of a Roman god, perhaps with a crown of vine leaves, an entrancing and ambivalent figure full of mystery and fascination. Bacchus the grape variety doesn’t enjoy quite the same fame – or infamy – as its classical namesake, though it is arguably no less intriguing.
Created in Germany in 1933, Bacchus is a crossing of Müller-Thurgau with a Silvaner x Riesling cross. It ripens early, so has the advantage of being suitable for sites considered too cool for Riesling. It can be arrestingly aromatic and characterful with a zesty exuberance and a core of mouthwatering freshness.
Scroll down for Susie Barrie MW’s top 18 English Bacchus wines
Bacchus was brought to the UK in 1973 and has since become the fourth most-planted grape variety, covering 200ha. Given that Bacchus is rarely found outside these two countries, there is clearly an opportunity for it to become a significant calling card for the UK as the country builds s reputation as a producer of not just sparkling wines but of still wines too.