Global Semillon

This French white variety is a grape making up 80% of the blend in the most expensive and famous dessert wine in the world, Château d’Yquem. Consistently productive at six to eight tons per acre and of vigorous vines, Semillon is easy to cultivate. That is the reason for what it’s cultivated all around the world.

France apart, where is the majority white variety in Bordeaux, Graves, and Sauternes areas, where is cultivated more than anywhere else on earth is in Chile. Very widespread also in Australia, Semillon dominated as the major white variety, although the vineyards are mostly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc today.

Another place where this grape is cultivated is California. This region has an ongoing checkered relationship with Semillon. Most California Semillon today is blended with Sauvignon Blanc and rendered dry.

Very interesting is the experimental dessert wine created by winemaker Myron Nightingale of Cresta Blanca winery (here some pictures) who made a dessert wine by spraying spores of Botrytis cinerea on Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes to produce French Sauternes like results. It was 1956, then financial problems caused Cresta Blanca to change hands and production ceased after the 1966 vintage.

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