Sémillon comes into its own in the great Sauternes and other sweet wines of Bordeaux. With a completely different taste profile, it is also famous for great dry white wines of impressive ageability in the Hunter Valley of Australia. It is the traditional blending partner with Sauvignon Blanc. It is fuller bodied, rounder and fatter than Sauvignon Blanc and has aromas of honey, lemon and beeswax with a soft, viscous texture.
More Sémillon is grown in France than anywhere else. While it used to be planted in the New World, its popularity is declining here (except where sweet wines are made). It is its susceptibility to botrytis (the noble rot) that is probably Sémillon’s key selling point, producing big yellow to golden berries when ripe that shrivel easily to make concentrated wines of great intensity.
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- Bordeaux0.75l WhiteBio€7.90 €6.53If it is true that pretty wines come from lovely sites, than the Moulin de Peyronin, owes its attractive aromas and flavours to the picturesque village of Pujols in the heart of the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. This youthful wine produced from organic grapes (70% Semillon and 30% Sauvignon) grown in the clay limestone slopes of the village. The wine is made simply: pressing directly after picking, cold stabilisation and fermentation and then aging on the fine lees for a couple of months. The result is a wine with lively aromas of fresh flowers, orchard fruit, cut hay and peaches. On the palate the wine has a mineral liveliness and is quite spicy and long in the finish without losing its vibrant freshness. Great as an aperitif, or with oysters, shellfish and other fish.
- 2017 Château de RespideClassique Graves0.75l WhiteNew€9.00 €7.44Chateau De Respide is a very well-made, modern Graves produced from a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon grapes. After picking, the grapes go through a short period of maceration on the skins before aging on their fine lees. The wine has a bright pale yellow colour, an expressive nose of white blossom, citrus fruit and fresh meadows and on the palate the wine is attractively fruity, balanced and persistent with a very refreshing zesty finish. Chateau De Respide is one of the oldest wine estates in Bordeaux, belonging formerly to Louis XIV’s police officers. The painter Toulouse Lautrec was a frequent visitor and although the château was later sold, the vineyards and cellars have been in the hands of the Bonnet family since the 1950s.
- Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux0.75l WhitePrimeur€12.35 €10.21For once the wine was not bottled at the time of the primeurs and will wait until mid-June as there is a great deal of richness here. Made from a blend of 63% Semillon, 21% Sauvignon Blanc and 16% Sauvignon Gris, it is the Semillon which really comes out here with lovely freshness, sweet, grapey flavours and notes of cinnamon, oatmeal and citrus. Creamy, soft and lively, with very good concentration and freshness, nice precision and an appetizingly salty finish.
- 2007 Château FilhotSauternesDeuxièmes Crus 0.375l White€14.30 €11.82Bright and pure with a lovely fruity nose of apricots and grapefruits. A very pretty Sauternes at a very good price. Instensely concentrated and very fresh. Very wel-made, a Sauternes with lots of character.
- Francs, Côtes de Bordeaux0.75l WhiteNew€14.50 €11.98Purchased by Nicolas Thienpont in 1988, the estate produces a fine white wine which rivals better known Bordeaux. This year there is more Sauvignon in the wine than usual, with the blend being 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Gris and 50% Semillon. Pale lemon colour with ripe orchard fruit aromas, fresh and good spicy flavours with lots of acidity, lots of personality, wild flowers, grapefruit, apple blossom, oak ; pretty.
- 2008 Château FilhotSauternesDeuxièmes Crus 0.75l White€22.20 €18.35A magnificent estate located in the heart of the Sauternes region which produces wines that are rich, succulent and very traditional in style. The nose is very expressive with notes of honey, apricots and stewed peaches. The palate has a very pretty sweetness, wonderful balance and stony mineral complexity.
- 2007 Château FilhotSauternesDeuxièmes Crus 0.75l White€24.95 €20.62Bright and pure with a lovely fruity nose of apricots and grapefruits. A very pretty Sauternes at a very good price. Instensely concentrated and very fresh. Very well-made, a Sauternes with lots of character.
- 2010 Château RieussecSauternesPremier Cru Supérieur 0.375l White€33.50 €27.69A dark straw colour with youthful, pure aromas of citrus fruit and acacia honey on the nose. A lovely combination of acidity, freshness and sweetness with plenty of promise for the future.