Sémillon

  (say-mee-YOWN[French]/ SEM-ill-on[Australia])
Synonyms: Blanc Doux, Boal, Colombier, Goulon Blanc, Gros Semillon, Hunter River Riesling, Monsois Blanc, Petit Semmillon, Sauternes, Semijon, Semilion, Semillon Blanc, White Sercial, St. Emilion, Wynedruif

Wine Name: Sémillon, Wyndruif (South Africa), Hunter Valley Riesling (Australia), Boal (Portugal)

Background: Sémillon is a French grape often used for blending with Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadelle especially in the Bordeaux area of France to reduce acidity and make a more complex wine. Sémillon is also the dominant grape of the sweet French Sauterne wines which are quite famous. They are long lasting dessert wines which are produced from grapes which are affected by “noble rot” (botrytis fungus) that shrivels the grapes causing their sugars to be more concentrated.

Outside of France, Australia also produces dry Sémillon white wines as a varietal, blended or as a sweet dessert wine. As a young varietal, Australian Sémillon is fuller-bodied than a white Bordeaux and has more of the warm climate flavors of apricots and mangoes. Although it does go with fish, its fuller body makes it equal to rich sauces, spicy foods and even meats such as chicken and pork. Aged Sémillon tends to develop flavors of toast and honey.

Classic Brands and Sources: Many Bordeaux producers; Australia – Tim Adams, Bethany, McWilliams, Nepenthe, Peter Lehman, Lindeman’s; USA – Carmenet, Duckhorn Vineyards, Far Niente, Mantanzas Creek.

Characteristics:

Style #1 – as a varietal

Body – medium

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – late harvest (Sauternes)

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
The varietal Sémillon wine pairs with savory dishes that are medium to full bodied. The late harvest wine is a dessert wine pairing with sweet dishes.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Varietal – Pairs with heavier fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with buttery, creamy or other savory sauces; pastas with buttery, pesto or cheese sauces, truffles, smoked salmon
Late harvest – desserts especially those carmel, honey or chocolate-based

Cheese Pairings:
Varietal – Sémillon goes with mild cheddar, Chaumes, Double Glouchester (similar to mild cheddar),Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Triple Creme, St André, St Nectaire, Zamarano (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), Brie and Camembert (with or without rinds).
Late harvest – Sauternes-type dessert wine goes with fruity and nut desserts, nuts, strong cheeses like Roquefort, Blue Cheese