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England's Bacchus gives Loire and NZ wines a run for their money

Published:  21 June, 2012

England's Bacchus grape could give Loire and New Zealand wines a run for their money, according to the chair of this year's English and Welsh Wine Awards.

From the 263 wines entered, there were 14 gold, 88 silver and 113 bronze medals awarded to new producers and regular award winners alike.

The judging, organised by the United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA), took place earlier this week in Sussex. This year's judges included Susan McCraith MW (chairman), Patricia Stefanowicz MW, Maggie McNie MW, David Bird MW, Anthony Foster MW and Sally Easton MW.

McCraith said: "The results this year endorse the world class quality of our sparkling wines. Sparkling rose, where the trend seems to be for very pale colours, is catching up with white sparkling and is right on trend for the UK market. On the still wine front, once again Bacchus confirms itself as a signature grape variety for English and Welsh wines, capable of showing real concentration and finesse. Look out Loire and New Zealand, English Bacchus is on its way!"

Five of the main trophies went to Bacchus wines, and five of the 14 gold medals.  Chapel Down Bacchus Reserve 2010 won the trophy for the most outstanding large production vintage earlier than 2011 and the trophy for the most outstanding single varietal wine. Camel Valley Bacchus 2011 won for best large production; New Hall Bacchus 2011 won for best unchaptalised wine and Furleigh Estate Bacchus Fumé 2010 as named most outstanding oaked white wine.

Sparkling wines performed impressively, with winners coming from further afield than the traditional core - first-time entry in the most outstanding sparkling category was won by Furleigh Estate Classic Cuvée 2009.

The winemaker and wine of the year awards will be announced at the industry's awards lunch, hosted by broadcaster Olly Smith, on July 13 in London.

Summing up, McCraith added: "This has been a great year for English wines; they've earned wide media coverage, including an appearance on BBC's The Apprentice, and of course the Diamond Jubilee and hopefully now the Olympics. Our wines are becoming renowned the world over. The industry can be justifiably proud of its many achievements."