Updated: Jul 27, 2021
Sémillon is a green grape variety that you have likely had, but never saw on the label. It is most frequently used in Bordeaux, France to soften the acidity in Sauvignon Blanc. Bottles from Bordeaux are not generally labelled by varietal, and Semillon is usually less than 30% of the blend. Sémillon is full bodied, and adds weight to balance the tangy crispness associated with Sauvignon Blanc. It is used independently in Bordeaux to produce the amazing botrytis affected late harvest dessert styles from Barsac and Sauternes, some of the most expensive and coveted wines on Earth, because of the limited production, and complexity of flavors and aromas.
The Aussies love to work with the grape as well, and though it frequently has great opportunity to ripen, generally is fermented dry, especially in the Hunter Valley. It has full body, great fruit, and great ageing ability. Aromas of apricot, tropical fruit, and peach deceive the nose to the dryness of the wine. The Aussies do use the grape to create a dessert style wine, too.
We have producers in California and Washington working with the grape, too. In the United States it is sometimes blended with Sauvignon Blanc, but generally in a much smaller ratio than in Bordeaux, and frequently not at all. Producers here more frequently showcase it on it's own, sometimes oak aged, sometimes not. I would be delighted to do a class of 3 styles of Sémillion, because it is so unique, and relatively challenging to find independent of a blend.