Semillon (seh-mee-YON) is a grape varietal that is a bit of a hidden gem among wine lovers. The grape is of French origin and is actually one of only three white wine varietals allowed to be grown in the famous Bordeaux region. However, Semillon is primarily known for its Australian-produced counterparts from the Barossa Valley and Hunter Valley in the Land Down Under. Other locations where Semillon is grown include South Africa, Chile, and of course, California.
This white grape is primarily used as a blend for Sauvignon Blanc, which is part of the reason for the varietal’s relative obscurity, but the grape can actually produce amazing wines on its own. Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards grows Semillon on estate vineyards, which produce wines with ripe fruit flavors, such as lime, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, beeswax and vanilla, in the warm Sierra Foothills climate. The wine features a medium to full body and is bone dry with a clean acidity, making it a refreshing summertime wine. Semillon’s flavors of lemons and nectarines are a great pairing for full flavored chicken, seafood, pork, and in particular, Southeast Asian cuisine.
Next time you’re at the winery, give it try. You may just discover your new favorite varietal!