What is Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Wine?
Sauvignon Blanc Semillon is a blend that originated in the Bordeaux region of France. While the origins are half the world away, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon has more or less been responsible for putting the Margaret River region on the map. To this day blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon continue to be the region’s best selling style. Generally unwooded, these blends are usually crisp, clean and very refreshing and present best when young.
Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes compete and complement one another and winemakers use this to create broadly appealing wines. Growers in Australia, New Zealand, France, South Africa, Chile and America plant Semillon and Chardonnay to blend for commercial wines.
Common Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Wine characteristics
Australian Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends, especially those from the Margaret River region of Western Australia, are grassy and herbal. Drier styles are the trend and those wines push tropical fruit tones. These Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are often labelled as ‘Classic Dry White’ wine.
Semillon can be grassy yet adds a certain honeyed richness to the tropical fruits and sharper acidity of Sauvignon Blanc. The lemony notes of Semillon are often noticeable in the blends, particularly from Margaret River where the herbal, grassy tones are more pronounced.
The fruit and acid balance of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc provide great harmony when each component part is picked at perfect ripeness. Sauvignon Blanc’s primary fruits and Semillon’s citrus composure balance each other out. Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends swing wildly between austere and sweet; with powerful fruit characters they can also show bitterness.
Pairing food with Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Wine
Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends pair well with many foods. This versatility allows the wine to be paired with salads, poached chicken, white fish as well as prawns, scallops or even mild curries.
A Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend is a versatile wine for food and this is just as true for pairing with cheese. Hard, soft, stinky or mild, a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend will work well with any and crucially with all. A crowd-pleasing wine pairs well with a crowd-pleasing cheese platter.
Notable Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Wine regions
Bordeaux in France started it all by blending Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc with great success. The aim was to create dry table wines as well as the famous dessert wines of Sauternes. The more famous dry blends from Bordeaux come from the vineyards in Entre-Deux-Mers and Graves. Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends from the area are more savoury though they do show some pear and nectarine. Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blends from the Bordeaux region are generally blended in even amounts. These wines are very textural, often slippery and broad with reserved fruit. Blends from Sauternes are picked late and as such are intense and complex, unctuous in texture.
Margaret River, Australia
Margaret River has made its name by producing ‘Classic Dry White’ blends of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc in various quantities. The blend is recognised internationally as a prized early drinking, sunny personality wine style with a predominance of tropical fruit and grassy characters. The fruit from Sauvignon Blanc pairs incredibly well with the grassy, almost herbal notes of Semillon. Producers from Margaret River make crisp, clean Semillon Sauvignon Blanc intended for early consumption. Now created all around Australia, Margaret River is still the premier region for Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blends.
Australian Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are not all created equal. Blends of these grapes, like those from McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley, have a fleshier than expected texture but showcase bright stone fruits with sweetish tropical fruit juice and some hints of spice. This is in contrast to the big hitters from the Margaret River region in Western Australia.
The future of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc Wine
From its origins in France, the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend has always had a broad appeal. Robust grapes, ease of production and accessibility in terms of price and palate for wine are all elements that will continue to contribute to popularity of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends for producers and punters alike.