white-wine-varietals
EDUCATION

Sémillon

(seh-mee-YOHN)

Sémillon is a greenish (almost yellow) skinned grape used to produce both dry and sweet wines. This well-known grape variety is used largely in the white wines of Bordeaux, France, where it’s blended in varying quantities with Sauvignon Blanc. It is also used to produce some of the world’s most famous dessert wines from the Bordeaux appellation of Sauternes.

  • Aroma/Flavor Components:

This grape offers fairly to highly aromatic nuances of citrus fruit (lemon), tropical fruits (fig and golden raisin), tree fruit (peach), garden (grass), and bakeshop (honey).

  • Structural Components:

Sémillon is often a brilliant gold-colored wine with a soft, full, and sometimes even oily texture with low to moderate acidity. It is most frequently vinified into a dry wine but can be left with some remaining residual sugar to produce an off-dry to sweet wine style. Sémillon typically produces a medium-to-full body wine—largely dependent upon the quantity of residual sugar and the length of extended hang-time of the grapes. Sometimes this grape is added (as is the case in most white Bordeaux wines) to complement the leaner-bodied and highly acidic Sauvignon Blanc. The alcohol content is often moderate to high ranging between 12 and 14 percent.

  • Significant Locations:

While the production of Sémillon is not widespread—the few places produce fairly extraordinary examples. Some of the most prevalent locations include France (Bordeaux), Australia (Hunter Valley and Margaret River), Washington state (Columbia Valley), and South Africa.