Bacchus Weiss, in everyday language called Bacchus, is a green grape that is losing ground in some parts of Germany but instead is gaining increased interest in England, Wales and Canada.
Bacchus grapes produce wines that are fresh and highly aromatic, with clear citrus character.
In Germany, the grape tends to be high in sugar and low in acidity. In UK’s slightly colder climate, you are likely to find somewhat higher levels of acidity and less sugar together with clearer expression of the grape’s aromatic side, as well as notes of herbs.
In Germany, Bacchus Weiss is most commonly used for blending purposes in white wines where it will bring flowery notes to the blend.
In particularly good years, vintage permitting, it is used to also produce Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese dessert wines.
In the UK, Bacchus Weiss is to a larger extent found as varietal wines. You can expect to find them even fresher than their German counterparts, as well as displaying even more of aromatic notes.
In Germany, a dry, white blend might pair well with fresh cheese. Serve at 8-10°C/46-50°F.
If you are lucky enough to have a Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese in front of you, a slightly lemon flavoured dessert, or some blue cheese are two wonderful alternatives. Serve at 6-9°C/43-48°F.
For a UK varietal Bacchus Weiss, the suggestion is to go for prawns, shrimps, or salmon. A Brie, a Camembert, or some goat cheese are also very nice alternatives. Serve at 8-10°C/46-50°F.
Where is it grown?
Bacchus Weiss is still present in most of Germany’s wine regions, although loosing lots of ground in some places.
In Rheinhessen there were plantings of 767 ha/1,895 ac, a decrease with fifty-four percent in ten years.
Nahe reported plantings of 153 ha/378 ac, a decrease of thirty-nine percent, while Pfalz reported 139 ha/343 ac, a decrease of fifty-nine percent. Seven other regions reported smaller plantings.
Instead it seems like Bacchus Weiss has found its new heartland in Franken, where 747 ha/1,846 ac were reported, even indicating a small increase.
Franken has also been mentioned as the best place in Germany to grow the Bacchus Weiss.
In all of Germany there were plantings of 1.977 ha/4,885 ac, making Bacchus Weiss the thirteenth most planted grape in the country.
Outside of Germany there were plantings reported in England and Wales with an acreage of 116 ha/287 ac, making Bacchus Weiss the third most planted grape in the UK.
Smaller plantings are reported also in British Colombia in Canada. Earlier plantings in Aargau in Switzerland now appear to be gone.
Bachhus Weiss is a cross between Silvaner, Riesling and Müller Thurgau, created in 1933 in the Geilweilerhof research centre in Pfalz, Germany.