2022 Penn Croft Village Bacchus

‘I am a huge admirer of Ben Smith’s winemaking, and I was privy to an early sample of this wine last August, which looked incredible. Penn Croft has a pair of Bacchae (not confident of this plural because the internet suggests this means a collection of priestesses) in its portfolio, and Village is the lighter, zestier and more pointedly refreshing of the two. While this wine is not as voluminous as the ‘reserve’ level wine, called Penn Croft Bacchus, without the ‘Village’, it certainly packs a lot of flavour, and the delivery is stunningly controlled and beautifully enticing. Having tasted legions of Loire whites, Kiwi Savvies and all manner of dry white wines from far-flung corners of the Earth, I cannot find a more sophisticated twenty-quid, complex, multi-faceted, aperitif-style white wine.’

-Matthew Jukes

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2022 Thorrington Mill Vineyard, Bacchus

Interestingly, Mr Smith also makes this wine at his Itasca Wines business, and the fruit comes from the Thorrington Mill vineyard in Essex. One imagines the brief here is to build a more main course-shaped offering because it employs 13% barrel fermentation in neutral oak plus some malolactic fermentation to gather its skirts and boost its mid-palate succulence. The result is terrific, with none of the green bean or raw nettle notes associated with lesser Bacchus wines. This time, there is a hint of yellow plum and Chinese pear before the flavour rotates towards a more formal, crisply refreshing Bacchus finish. Youthful and energetic, I have a feeling that this wine will evolve nicely over the next twelve months, making it a candidate for both the cellar and the fridge!

-Matthew Jukes

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