Semillon originates from France, and is it's third most planted white wine variety behind Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc. It's a key blending grape to make White Bordeaux, and thus is not really seen in the spotlight often, and can hardly be found as a single varietal wine. Even so, this golden grape produces a wide range of flavors,
Light to medium bodied with a trademark oilyness to it, Semillon has a vast range of profiles depending on it's style. It's a wine you'll never get bored of, especially if you like aromas of hay, white flowers & lemon.
Hot climate regions would produce ripe stonefruit & tropical flavors, and are often oaked to give it creamy textures, similar to Chardonnay
Cool climates would provide higher acidity wines, often resembling Sauvignon Blanc. If unoaked, it is often bursting with citrus flavors - lemon, line, and grapefruit.
Late harvest styles produce notes of peach, apricot & mango, with nutty undertones & luxurious complexity.
Sémillon pairs excellent with richer fish based meals & with white meats including chicken and pork chops. Fresh fennel and dill based dishes go particularly well with Semillon. For late harvest styles, foie gras is a match made in heaven, as the sweetness contrasts beautifully with the savory richness of foie gras.
Originating in Bordeaux, Semillon has been adopted by various regions around the world. France, Australia, and South Africa are some of the most prominent producers of Semillon globally.
Semillon is an important white grape in Bordeaux, and is used to make the prized dessert wine, Sauternes. This is due to it's thin skins which makes it particularly susceptible to noble rot.
Appellations like Graves & Pessac-Leognan are known for bringing out the finest of Semillon.
HUNTER VALLEY, AUSTRALIA
Australia makes Semillon like nowhere else in the world. Hunter Valley tends to pick the grapes early, and gives it an extended bottle ageing period. This allows it to have a dry bright lemon profile with oak imparted flavors of toast, smoke & honey. This allows the Semillon to age considerably.
Margaret River tends to make them closer to the French Bordeaux style, while Barossa Valley often barrel ages Semillon to create creamy, bodied wines.
South Africa has a unique Semillon Gris mutation, which has pink skins. These create wines similar to a ramato style Pinot Grigio, while producers of the original Semillon produce both oaked & unoaked styles.
Chile & United States also grow Semillon, creating artisanal styles, often using techniques like lees stirring to give the wine added texture.