Sémillon

Sémillon

Sémillon is one of those solid, journeyman grape varieties that, while important, never seems to attract the limelight in the way that the likes of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling do. This second-tier status is reinforced by its tendency to be blended, rather than marketed as a varietal. Sémillon's home is in the South West of France, and more particularly Bordeaux, where it is the most widely planted white grape. Most commonly it is blended: the classic Bordeaux white is a mix of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and often a dash of Muscadelle. It this blend that also makes the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, when the grapes are left to shrivel on the vine, yielding small quantities of extremely concentrated juice. However, outside of France, Sémillon makes very good dry table wines. Areas such as the Hunter Valley of Australia makes possibly Australia's most interesting white wines. Elsewhere in Australia, Sémillon is often used as a blending partner for Chardonnay, where it contributes a crisp, citrussy edge to what might otherwise be overly flabby plonk. And Semillon/Sauvignon blends are common in Western Australia, Elsewhere in the new world, Sémillon can perform very well, with good wines now being made in Washington State, USA, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa. Shows good lemon and lime citrus notes, plus tropical fruit flavours, and can display toasty elements without being oaked.