Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
What is the difference between Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc?
—Christian P., Jakarta, Indonesia
Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc are the names of two different white wine grapes (and of the wines made from them). They’re linked because they’re often blended together, as in Bordeaux blancs or wines inspired by them.
Sauvignon Blanc is definitely flashier than Sémillon. It has more intense fruit flavors, a more vivid acidity and a lighter body. Sémillon is heavier, with lower acidity and an appealing, almost oily or waxy quality to it. Blended together, Sémillon can give Sauvignon Blanc a terrific structure and weight, the two balancing each other out.