Meet Semillon


When our editor Andrew informs us of the grape for Great Grape Day, I often shield my eyes. As the resident wine rookie, odds are I will have no idea what it is and usually won’t know if it’s red or white (a testament to Andrew’s ability to pick interesting and uncommon grapes). When Andrew informed us of this month’s grape, Semillon, I thought to myself, “Isn’t that a novel by J.R. Tolkien?” Sad, but true.

As fate would have it, a wine expert in one of the many newspapers here in Northern California, the Monterey Herald’s George Edwards, devoted his column this week to Semillon. Maybe you wine experts will even learn something with me as we go through the characteristics of the Semillon grape.

Semillon usually comes from the Bordeaux region of France. It takes the spotlight in “the dry whites of Graves and the luscious dessert wines of Sauternes where the thin skins are easy prey for the noble mold Botrytis responsible for so many of the world’s fine dessert wines“. So it’s a grape that’s susceptible to some of the best mold in the world. That’s a good start.

Semillon, with its “creamy citrus,” is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadelle grapes. The Australian Semillon can be found in “both sweet and dry (predominantly un-oaked) styles as well as contributing to blends.” Edwards also points to the Semillon-Chardonnay blends from a decade ago (Sem-Chards) that have all but disappeared.

For food pairing suggestions, Edwards tried Peter Lehmann Barossa Semillon 2002 ($12) with “a mild chicken curry, pan fried pork, both a roast leg of lamb and green and graver olives“. (yum!) In sum, Edwards find that “Semillon can be a valuable addition to the food pairing arsenal“.

Photo from Peter Lehmann.

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Other Posts
Great Grape Day — “Semi-Yawn?”
Global Semillon


Reader Comments

I’ll rock-paper-scissors you for the ‘Wine Rookie’ title. =)

John - you’ll be happy to know when I want a bottle opened, I just hand it to my husband. I’m not allowed to open them because more of he cork ends up in the bottle than out of it when I open them.

That makes me think of a great idea for a post… Maybe a nice little review of cork screws….. Just gotta get the future in-law to ship me his rabbit.

Glad I could help!