Five months into trading and Hannibal’s website appears to be developing an insatiable appetite for wine insights, detail and general trivia! Right now, the team is busy building a Wine Encyclopaedia, kicking off with the Grape Index. Having completed ‘A’ (there aren’t any grapes beginning with the letter ‘A’), they’ve shot through the ‘B’s, languished on the ‘C’s (Cabernet this, Cabernet that, Carmenere this, Carignan that – phew) and they’re now tacking the ‘G’s. ‘Not great progress’, I hear you say. How wrong you would be! There are literally hundreds of these pesky things to write about and I’m told that very soon, the team will be looking for a helping hand or two from our loyal readers – there’s a bottle or two in it for those who are interested in contributing…. watch this space…!
So, who knows what Bacchus is? Who’s even heard of it? Well, this lesser know varietal was the creation of a famous German viticulturist who belonged to an institute of Grape Breeding – no prizes for guessing what they got up to there….
A Sylvaner / Riesling cross was grafted onto a stem of Müller-Thurgau in an effort to create a variety that was more resistant to frost and fungal disease.
Interestingly, Bacchus is often used to accentuate the flavour of Müller-Thurgau in a blend, so, as in life, the parent variety is now relying on its offspring for a bit of extra get up and go!
Bacchus wasn’t released for general cultivation until 1972, some 40 years after it was developed. The War got in the way and it never really took off in its native country, Germany. Yet here in Blighty, Bacchus thrives, often being referred to as the ‘signature grape variety for English and Welsh wines’. Under British growing conditions it can give you a Sauvignon Blanc style wine.
If you fancy trying a great example of Bacchus, have a look at Limney Vineyard Horsmunden White, a super producer with a renowned reputation from East Sussex.