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About Sémillon Edit
Wikipedia Article About Sémillon on Wikipedia
Sémillon is a golden-skinned grape used to make dry and sweet white wines, most notably in France and Australia.
In France, the Sémillon grape is grown mostly in Bordeaux. There, it is blended with Sauvignon blanc and Muscadelle. When dry, it is referred to as Bordeaux blanc and is permitted to be made in the appellations of Pessac-Léognan, Entre-deux-mers and other less renown regions. In this form, Sémillon is generally a minor constituent in the blend.
When used to make sweet white wines of Bordeaux, such as the wine of Sauternes and Barsac, it is often the dominant variety. In such wines, the Sémillon is attacked by the "noble rot" of Botrytis cinerea which consumes the water and thus concentrates the sugar present in the grape pulp.
Sémillon is widely grown in Australia, particularly in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney. There are four styles of Sémillon-based wines made there: a commercial style, often blended with Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc; a sweet style, after that of Sauternes; a complex, minerally, early picked style which has great longevity; and, an equally high in quality style which receives oak handling. The latter two styles, pioneered by McWilliam's Mount Pleasant and Tyrrell's, are considered to be unique to Australia.
Sémillon is also finding favour with Australian producers outside of the Hunter Valley in the regions of the Barossa Valley and Margaret River.
Outside of these regions, however, Sémillon is unpopular — often criticised for lack of complexity and intensity. As such, plantings have decreased over the last century.
In the 19th century the grape covered over 90 percent of South Africa's vines (where it was known as Wyndruif – "wine grape"), and Chile's post-war vineyards were made up of over 75 percent Sémillon. Both countries still grow the grape successfully but in vastly reduced quantities.