For most wine buyers Semillon is best known for Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. Undoubtedly, the ever flamboyant Sauvignon Blanc has stolen much of the limelight as its blousy aromatics which range from grassy to gooseberry and even passionfruit is immediately recognizable. Did you know that it is Semillon that gives these wines’s (especially the more classic structured Bordeaux whites) longevity? Often quite taut, grassy and lean in youth (especially when picked young), aged Semillon develops rich honeyed fruit and toasty notes with age. Try an aged Hunter Valley Semillon and you’ll understand.
Everyday: McGuigan Semillon Blanc (NSLC, $14.99)
Are you getting tired of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc? You might want to try McGuigan S Series ‘The Semillon Blanc’. This isn’t a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc but an inventive and creative package designed to entice consumers who are comfortable drinking Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends to give straight Semillon a try. This inventive new wine from McGuigan Wines is made in an immediately enjoyable style. Unlike many Hunter Valley Semillon which tend to be quite grassy, lean and tart when young, this wine from South Eastern Australia, is ripe with floral and tropical aromas without being big or clumsy. As their package aptly says the wine is “Refreshing, crisp and aromatic.” A great everyday sipper and at $14.99 a great value.
Serving Suggestion: Shrimp sautéed with cilantro and ginger.
Gourmet: Pont de Brion Graves (Premier Wine & Spirits, $28.51)
Local fine wine (and beer) aficionados in the know have discovered a number of gems at Premier Wine & Spirits in downtown Halifax. Their fine wine selections are chosen by gifted wine professional, Oliver Olsen. The Danish born Olsen grew up in the wine business and it shows. His wine knowledge, amongst wine store staff in Nova Scotia, is paralleled only by the Port of Wines’ Ron Crooks. Try this selection, which is an almost equal blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Unlike Australian counterparts, Bordeaux winemakers oak age their white wines and allow their Semillon more time on the vine which contributes to the richer fruit and more luscious texture of these wines.
Suggested Serving: Roast halibut with lemon and herb butter sauce
Mark DeWolf is the Food & Drinks Editor of Occasions Magazine, a sommelier instructor and owner of By the Glass.