Grape Vari­ety: Semillon

Geog­ra­phy: France, Por­tu­gal, Israel, Tunisia, New World, espe­cially the Hunter Val­ley region of Australia.

Viti­cul­ture: The finest Sémil­lon grapes are grown in extremely dif­fer­ent types of ter­roir, Bor­deaux in France and the Hunter Val­ley in Aus­tralia. Both regions, how­ever, have humid­ity in common.

Varietal/Blend: A tra­di­tional Bor­deaux vari­ety often blended with Sauvi­gnon Blanc. Famous for the part it plays in the pro­duc­tion of Sauternes. Used mostly as a vari­etal in Australia.

Fla­vor & Char­ac­ter: The best dry, oaked vari­eties have fla­vors of nec­tarine and lemon. Sweeter ver­sions, affected by ”noble rot,” have delight­ful, waxy fla­vors of peaches, apri­cots and honey.

Vini­fi­ca­tion: Sémil­lon is some­times aged in oak, but even if unoaked, it devel­ops a delight­ful nutty fla­vor, par­tic­u­larly if allowed to age for sev­eral years.

Style: Pro­duces two starkly dif­fer­ent styles of dry and sweet wines.

Body, Dry/Sweet: Tends to pro­duce full-bodied wines with good acid­ity. Like Ries­ling, it is capa­ble of rot­ting nobly to make lus­cious sweet wines.

Notes: The Hunter Val­ley region of Aus­tralia put Sémil­lon on the world wine map with its mar­velous ”botry­tized” wood aged Sémil­lon wines.