Lyme Bay Bacchus Block
Located in the beautiful Axe Valley in Devon, Lyme Bay Winery have a very collaborative philosophy with everything they produce. Whether it be cider, brandy, liqueurs or even, mead. Sourcing the best ingredients is paramount. Lyme Bay have their own vineyards in East Devon, however, the Bacchus grapes for this wine are sourced from much further a-field: Essex.
The small “Dog-Leg” plot at Great Whitman’s Vineyard near Purleigh, Chelmsford is one of the most ideal spots through-out England to grow Bacchus. Located equidistant from the Black Water and the Crouch, Purleigh enjoys a rather pleasant meso-climate which has one of the lowest rainfall records in the country. Beside having the perfect climate for viticulture, this area has a long history of winemaking. From the times of the Romans, vines have been a regular site in the Essex countryside. Essex can also lay claim to having served the Crown, for the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, King John required “two barrels of Purleigh wine”. For centuries, grapes grown in Essex have been held in very high esteem.
Bacchus is very much a grape variety that has found its true home in the vineyards of England. Originally bred as a flavour-some alternative to Muller-Thurgau, in the early part of the 20th century in Germany. A cross between Silvaner, Riesling and Muller-Thurgau has resulted in a hardy variety with the ability to consistantly ripen both the sugars and acids in the grape and give a generous yield of aromatic berries. It is now the second most widely planted variety behind Chardonnay.
As soon as the grapes are harvested, they make their journey to Devon in temperature controlled vehicles, preserved under a blanket of protective gas to prevent any oxidization. Once at the winery, the grapes are pressed immediately and left to cold-settle for two days. Fermentation is very carefully controlled with very specific yeast strains (T. delbrueckii & S. cerevisiae, if you really wanted to know!) in order to achieve specific aromatics in the final wine. Citrus & tropical fruits and box wood & herbs respectively. 20% of the wine was fermented in old oak barriques, giving the wine a greater texture and depth alongside the freshness from the stainless steel fermentation. The finished wine has lots of citrus flavour and aroma, particularly pink and white grapefruit. The tropical notes are passion fruit, kiwi and pineapple juiciness which is balanced by an under-lying creaminess and herbaceous character. A delightfully summery wine!