Pronounced she-mee-yohn or say-mee-yohn. A grape varietal used in the production of white wine. Originating in the Bordeaux and Loire regions of France, in modern day it is also grown in Australia, the United States (primarily CA), Argentina, Chile, and South Africa. The Sémillon is the principal varietal in Sauternes blends and is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc to create the famously sweet wines. Although Sémillon as a varietal is mediocre, blending can create extraordinary results. Semillon is one of 3 (Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle) approved varietals for wine making in Bordeaux, France. It is the backbone of Bordeaux dry whites and sweet dessert Sauternes, Barsac, and Cérons.
Characteristics: Sémillon has a susceptibility to the mold botrytis cinerea. The mold shrivels the grapes and intensifies the acid and sugar levels. Wines that include Sémillon in the blend tend to be full bodied, rich, sweet, fruity, honeyed, nutty wines, produced as both a dry wine and a sweet dessert wine. In Australia, Sémillon is vinified and aged like a Chardonnay.
Ageing: Both the sweet and dry variations have the ability of long ageing.
Serving temperature: Serve at a temperature of 50º-55º F.
Food pairings: Cajun fish, Cajun gumbo, cannelloni with ricotta, mild cheeses, chicken with garlic, chicken chow mein, Chinese shrimp, Chinese with orange sauce, sushi with scallops or hotate, sweet and sour pork, crab cakes, Creole fish, Creole gumbo, deviled eggs, escargots, smoked fish, mussels (aged Sémillon), pasta salad, goose pâté, chicken pâté, vegetable pâté, prawns, Waldorf salad, heavy seafood, shellfish, smoked shellfish, dill spice, lemon thyme spice, cumin spice, and chicken tajines.