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Sémillon is a white wine grape variety known for its versatility, particularly in producing a range of styles from dry to sweet and even botrytized dessert wines. Originating in Bordeaux, France, Sémillon has become a significant grape variety globally, adapting well to different climates and winemaking techniques.
Sémillon wines often exhibit a medium to full-bodied character with moderate acidity and a rich, rounded texture. In Bordeaux, it is commonly blended with Sauvignon Blanc and sometimes Muscadelle to create both dry and sweet white wines. Sémillon contributes flavors of ripe orchard fruits such as peach, apricot, and sometimes a honeyed or waxy note.
One of Sémillon's most famous expressions is in the sweet wines of Sauternes, where the grape is affected by the noble rot (Botrytis cinerea), concentrating sugars and flavors. These dessert wines are lusciously sweet with complex layers of honey, dried fruits, and botrytized characteristics.
Outside of Bordeaux, Sémillon is grown in regions like Australia, South Africa, and California. In Australia, it is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc in wines labeled as "Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc" or as a varietal wine, particularly in regions like Hunter Valley. In California, winemakers produce both dry and sweet styles of Sémillon