March 2011 Semillon


Even though the Semillon grape is popular and the most widely panted grape in France, few have ever heard its name. This is because the grape is often blended with Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. White Bordeaux from France is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Dry Semillon wines are full of crisp citrus flavors with a touch of fresh herbs. The finish on young Semillon is quick  on the palate, as these wines age, the flavors deepen and become more complex, almost toasty, and offer a lingering finish.

There is a sweet style of Semillon too. These grapes are quick to mold and in the wine world this is known as “noble rot”. The result is a sweet, highly concentrated juice. Sweet style Semillon is rich and complex with luch peach and apricot flavors. The finish is slow and lingering like honey.

One hundred percent of Semillon is suitable to drink immediately and does not take well to aging. For the sweet style, choose the Semillon Sauternes region in France. If you prefer dry, go with Semillon from Australia or Hogue Semillon from Washington.

If you want a white wine that is full-bodied and oaky, the flavors of Semillon will come off as boring and flabby.

1ST 17 St. Hallet Barossa 2008 Australia $10
2nd 16 Desert Wind Dunhill 2006 Oregon $13
3rd 15.9 Chinook 2007 Prosser, WA $12
4th 15.5 Chateau Fongrave 2009 Bordeaux France $13
5th 15 Fox 2003 Mattawa, WA $6
6th 14.9 L’Ecole No. 41 2009 Washington $13
7th 14.3 Fidelitas 2009 Red Mtn 


8th 14 Kalleske Barrossa Valley 2005 Australia $11
9th 13 Laurel Ridge 2007 Oregon $12
10th 12.9 Chateau Ducasse 2009 Bordeaux France $15
11th 12.2 Mouton Cadet 2008 Bordeaux France $10
12th 11.6 Wilridge 2007 Red Mtn Washington $15