Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Sémillon, often written plain Semillon, in non-francophone countries, a golden grape variety from south west France, is one of the unsung heroes of white wine production. Blended with its traditional partner sauvignon blanc, to which it seems to be closely related (underripe Sémillon can taste remarkably like Sauvignon), this golden-, sometimes copper-, berried vine variety is the key ingredient in sauternes, arguably the world’s longest-living unfortified wine, as it is in most of the great dry whites of Graves (see pessac-léognan). Unblended, in Australia’s hunter valley, it is responsible for one of the most idiosyncratic and historic wine types exclusive to the New World, but overall it is not fashionable and has been declining in importance.