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Sémillon is not as well known as other white wines, but it has a huge following among wine drinkers. This white-wine grape varietal resulting in dry and sweet wines was discovered in Australia during the early 19th century.

In the Sauternes and Barsac regions, sémillon constitutes 80 percent of a sweet, late-harvest dessert wine. The most prized bottles from Bordeaux that feature sémillon are from Châteaux d’Yquem and Châteaux La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc.

Sémillon also thrives in Australia, particularly in Hunter Valley and Barossa. In Western Australia, sémillon is used to make "semi-sav," a blend of sémillon and sauvignon blanc. Plantings of sémillon are also found in Chile, Argentina, and Washington. Sémillon thrives in areas where the nights are cool and the daytime yields a lot of sun.

Quick Facts

  • Sémillon is the third-most planted wine grape in France
  • In South Africa, sémillon was the country’s most planted grape during the 19th century. It now comprises just one percent of South African Cape wines
  • Sémillon used to be mislabeled in Australia as riesling and in fact was called “Hunter River riesling” in the Hunter Valley region

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