Learn about Sémillon — taste profile, popular regions and more …
An unassuming but noble variety, Sémillon is capable of producing wines with considerable structure, depth, length, and potential to improve for several decades. It is the perfect partner to the vivdly aromatic Sauvignon Blanc; the two are most commonly found blended in their home region of Bordeaux. Sémillon especially shines in Sauternes, one of the world’s greatest sweet wines, with highly concentrated flavors of honey and dried apricots. While Sémillon is not hugely popular in the rest of the wine world, it enjoys great success in Australia's Hunter Valley, where it can produce elegant, complex dry wines with aging potential.
Tasting Notes for Sémillon
Sémillon makes a dry or sweet white wine with a smooth texture and significant palate weight. In youthful dry wines, it expresses subtle aromas of lemon, green apple, pear and stone fruit. Aged or sweet Sémillon wines show more complex characters of lanolin, beeswax, honeysuckle, ginger, saffron, vanilla or toast.
Perfect Food Pairings for Sémillon
Thanks to its moderate acidity, this fairly full-bodied wine can stand up to pretty boldly flavored food. Think lightly spiced Asian or Indian white meat or fish dishes, or anything with cinnamon, clove, or star anise. It’s also great with autumnal vegetables like kabocha squash, yam or potato. Botrytised Sémillon, as in Sauternes, is a perfectly decadent pairing with foie gras.
Sommelier Secrets for Sémillon
Sémillon was once the most common variety in South Africa—so common, in fact, that in 1822, when 93% of the country’s vineyard area was planted with it, it was simply referred to as Wyndruif, or “wine grape.”
Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon 2011Semillon from Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia