The word ‘Cabernet’ slips so easily off most people’s lips we forget that in the 1950’s, most Americans didn’t even know what Cabernet Sauvignon was. In the mid-century, Americans felt that Cabernet Sauvignon was too difficult to pronounce. So now that Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay have become the norm it’s time to get familiarized with some new wine grapes. Get your glasses ready.
Sémillon wine is loved for its full body, like Chardonnay, but with flavors closer to Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc. It’s an important blending component in White Bordeaux and is also planted throughout Australia. In the US, Sémillon wines are usually a great price for their quality. Despite how cheap it is, Sémillon has the pedigree to be alongside the most popular white wines in the world. Find out all about Sémillon wine; how way it tastes, where it grows and what you’ll enjoy eating with it.
The primary fruit flavors in Sémillon wine are lemon, apple, pear and green papaya. There’s something very waxy about the taste of Sémillon which wine writers often describe as lanolin. Depending on where Sémillon is grown it can range from being a zesty, palate-cleansing wine like Sauvignon Blanc to a rich, creamy, lemon-flavored wine like oaked Chardonnay.
Hot Climate Sémillon More ripe fruits, including mango, yellow peach and papaya, can be found in warm climate Sémillon. It’s not uncommon to find wines from these regions using moderate oak-aging to add buttery notes to the flavor. Warm climate regions include California, South Africa, Argentina and South Australia. Wines will have slightly higher alcohol around 12-14% ABV.
Cool Climate Sémillon When winemakers pick Sémillon less ripe, the wines have a lot more acidity and often resemble their popular cousin, Sauvignon Blanc. Citrus flavors of lemon, lime zest and grapefruit are accentuated in this style when winemakers don’t oak-age their Sémillon. A cooler climate Sémillon will also have more flower aromas. Cooler climate style Sémillon wines include Bordeaux, Hunter Valley Australia (a unique microclimate!), Western Australia and Washington State. In these areas, wines will have about 10-12% ABV