Sémillon is one of the most important grape varieties in the world, but also one that many people are unaware of. The golden-brown grape produces wines with favours including apple, lemon and pear. Those produced in cooler climates, such as Bordeaux, have floral notes, with lower alcohol content and higher acidity. Those in warmer climates, for example Argentina and South Africa, are notable for flavours more of green papaya and lemon. Sémillon is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc and other varieties, but can also be produced as a varietal wine. Sweet Sémillon wines have a taste of stone fruits like mango and peach, and a smooth texture brought about by a high sugar and glycerol content.
The Sémillon vine is simple to cultivate, as it is very productive and resistant to disease. In Bordeaux, where the highest concentration is grown, it is used in noble rot dessert wines, such as Barsac and Sauternes. The noble rot is botrytis cincera, which grows thanks to the morning fog and afternoon sunshine, and can lead to long-lasting whites that are keenly sought after.
The fruit itself is late to ripen, and needs plenty of sunlight and heat.