Log In / Join Now

Wine Spectator School

Class 4: Major Regional Varieties

round, lush whites from france




Semillon shines in Bordeaux where large plantings make the variety France's second most important in terms of production. A relatively early-ripener and a good producer, Semillon is well-suited to Bordeaux's shorter growing season with its not infrequent fall rains.

The variety's thin skin also makes it susceptible to botrytis cinerea, a beneficial fungus that dries out the grapes, intensely concentrating their flavors -- perfect for making sweet wines.


The Wine: In Bordeaux, Semillon is almost always blended with Sauvignon Blanc; Semillon's fat body and lighter acidity combine well with the leaner, more acidic Sauvignon Blanc. The results are dry, crisp white Bordeaux as well as some of the world's best dessert wines such as Sauternes.

The flavors associated with Semillon are lemon, hay and sometimes...

Ready to enroll?

First, you must register for a membership to WineSpectator.com. Your membership benefits include:
  • FREE enrollment in any course at Wine Spectator School
  • Over 230,000 searchable ratings and tasting notes
  • FREE mobile access so you can research wines wherever you are
  • E-newsletters with advance ratings
  • Editors’ blogs
  • Food and wine matching tool
  • And much more
Log In If You're Already a WineSpectator.com Member

If you have questions about Wine Spectator School, please contact us.

Free Email Newsletters—Sign Up

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 300,000+ ratings.