Semillon is widely grown in Australia. And like Riesling is one of the very best grapes for demonstrating the different characters emerging from Australia’s varied wine regions. There are many different styles produced, however the Hunter Valley is by far the most famous. Semillon from the Hunter Valley is lean, pale wine with citrus, grapefruit and flintiness in its flavour. With a few years bottle age it turns into a honeyed, nutty, classic wine. The Barossa Valley tends to be the most luscious, often with oak age, it has aromas of peaches and mangoes. Margaret River’s versions are a fine balance between these two styles, and they age well too. It is most often blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce the regions famous blends.
In France it is the main grape for Sauternes. Elsewhere in Bordeaux it is the most widely planted white grape and is blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce the dry whites of Graves. In Bordeaux, where it can be aged in oak, it produces wines that are high in alcohol and extract, but relatively low in aroma and acidity. Its thin skin makes it very susceptible to botrytis which is prerequisite for the making of Sauternes.