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Chapel Down launches Sparkling Bacchus


At Matthew Clark, we’ve consistently had to grow the size of our English wine range year on year as sales continue to grow significantly. One winery that has found itself at the core of our English Wine range for many years now, Chapel Down in Kent, have announced a new sparkling version of Bacchus.

It’s great to see one of England’s most innovative winemakers continue to experiment. Named after the Roman god of wine, the Bacchus variety was created in 1933 and is ideally suited to the relatively cool-climate in the UK.  It is an early ripening variety, and we tend to get great acidity levels here compared to the other places it fares well in such as Germany. Some believe the grape has the potential to do for English producers what Sauvignon Blanc did for New Zealand producers.

70% of the UK’s total wine production is sparkling, so it’s no surprise to see Bacchus get the treatment. With the launch of Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus, the winemaking team at Chapel Down, led by Head Winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire, have produced seven expressions of the grape. Before producing this sparkling variant, Chapel Down have experimented with everything from barrel ageing Bacchus to using it to create an ‘orange wine’. All of this experimentation is a sign of the continuing development of the industry on our shores and its growing confidence.

Having worked with Bacchus for a number of years and exploring what it can achieve stylistically, a sparkling version is something I’ve wanted to try for a while

By Josh Donaghay-Spire

“Having worked with Bacchus for a number of years and exploring what it can achieve stylistically, a sparkling version is something I’ve wanted to try for a while”, says Josh Donaghay-Spire. “Deciding to carbonate the wine and not to put it through the traditional method was a considered choice as I wanted to retain the youthful aromatic components which Bacchus showcases so well. It’s not a wine to discuss and debate for hours or a wine to cellar for years to come, it’s an uncomplicated wine to open and enjoy this summer”, adds Josh.

The uncomplicated nature of the wine is reflected in the irreverent packaging: the iconic Chapel Down red band has been replaced with a playful paint stripe across the label while the formality of the neck foil has been removed. Its addition to the range accompanies the Chapel Down Bacchus White. This still white wine has continued to find annual award success, scooping a medal at each of the IWC, IWSC and Decanter wine award competitions in 2018.

“Feedback from the trade has been really positive due to the easy drinking style”, states our Head of Wine Development, Zoe Coombs. “Dare we say it is similar in some respects to Prosecco? It tends to have more aromatics, which is true of any Bacchus wine style and a little dryer than some, but still has that fruity, easy drinking character that so many consumers are looking for”, Zoe adds. The Matthew Clark tasting note on the Sparkling Bacchus describes a dry wine, with an intense, aromatic fruit character showing grapefruit, pineapple and elderflower.

This wine can be enjoyed on its own or equally in an array of spritz or cocktail serves. Spritz serves are very much in fashion, and the Chapel Down range of spirits allows for you to produce one from a single source. The team at Chapel Down recommend the English 75, Sparkling Bacchus served with a measure of Chapel Down Bacchus Gin. The gin is created using distilled Bacchus grape skins from the estate.

Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus is new to the 2019/20 Matthew Clark wine range. You can find out more about Chapel Down, our range of English producers, and in fact, all of the 1400 new wines in our latest range inside our new list. Given the Sparkling Bacchus a try? Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the author

Luke Siddall (alumni)

I'm Matthew Clark's resident content creator, looking after our social media, website and customer communications. I was a cocktail bartender for while before joining but I now spend most of my time on the other side of the bar.

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