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Sémillon Enchants with a Shimmery Gold

Sémillon – for some, the grape variety is one of the unsung heroes in the wine world. White wine from this grape often features a strong, golden shimmer and gives off a scent of honey and candied fruit. In its taste, Sémillon also presents itself ‘golden’; yellow fruits and caramel are typical for it. The noble grape stands for high class premium wine and has been one of the most important vines worldwide for some time. The bandwidth of the wines reaches from light, salubrious, dry white wines up to full-bodied and noble sweet dessert wines. Sémillon is just as good in single grape wines as it is in cuvees. As a partner for Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, it introduces itself and its features well without being overpowering. A full body and good acidity constitute the basis for the fruity and clear notes of the blend partners.

Sémillon Makes for Storable Sweet Wine

The grape variety Sémillon is rewarding for winemakers. Despite producing high yields, it belongs without doubt to the noble grapes due to its high quality. It flowers late enough to protect itself against frost efficiently; and whilst many other noble grapes suffer from irrigation, the vines of Sémillon generally stay intact. The vine is also protected against viral diseases. The grape has a thin peel which is why it has the tendency for noble rot – ideal for dessert wines. Not for nothing, Sémillon is an integral part of the famous sweet wines from the Sauternes region in France. Furthermore, the wine lover can store a wine from Sémillon in the wine cellar for a long time and wait for the right moment to serve it or enjoy it himself.

A Successful History in South Africa

Sémillon is not only popular in France; the white grape variety also caused and still causes a stir overseas. On the one hand in Australia, especially in the Hunter Valley, on the other hand in South Africa. Especially in the latter, the grape had been as ubiquitous for some time that it was simply called ‘Wyndruif’, which means nothing else than grape. At the beginning of the 19th century, over 90 per cent of cultivation area was planted with Sémillon. Today, a much healthier relationship to other grape varieties exists even though Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc clearly dominate the wine scene. South Africa’s winemakers use the grape in various cuvees, whether paired with Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. The composition changes from winery to winery; sometimes Sémillon dominates, sometimes the grape variety is in the background and serves as refinement. Besides numerous dry white wines, some of South Africa’ best dessert wines are made of Sémillon.

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