girl holding wine at the hunter valley vineyard

What is Semillon Wine?

Looking to expand your cellar collection? Renowned for its incredible ageing ability, Semillon is a fantastic addition to your white wine favourites.
Glass of McGuigan Cellar Selection Semillon next to food

What is Semillon wine?

Are you looking for an alternative to your classic Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio? Semillon is a delicate white wine with fruity undertones blended with rich honey and nutty flavours. It is light when young and develops a heavier body as it ages.

Originally hailing from the Bordeaux region in southwestern France, James Busby was the first to plant this golden-skinned grape variety in Australia in 1831. As it turns out, our warm weather and rich soil in Australia provide the perfect environment for this type of grape to thrive, and today we are the second largest producer of Semillon in the world, after France. In particular, the Hunter Valley and the Barossa Valley have developed a reputation for producing some of the world’s highest-quality Semillon wines.

Here at McGuigan, our winemakers are dedicated to carefully crafting premium Semillon from our Hunter Valley vineyards, which showcase the refined, elegant characters that only the very best Semillon wine can offer.


What does Semillon wine taste like?

While Semillon is comparable to Chardonnay due to its full body, its subtle undertones of zesty citrus give it the same edge as Sauvignon Blanc. But what truly sets Semillon apart from other white wines is its soft, dewy hues of honey, nut and vanilla.

The age of the Semillon bottle will also influence the flavour, with younger wines displaying greater crispness. In comparison, older bottles can take on extraordinary depth, density and lanolin smoothness with a fragrant lemony acidity as they age.


Is Semillon dry or sweet?

Semillon is often produced as a dry wine, where the wine producer allows the yeast to consume most or all of the sugar. Oaked varieties of Semillon are available, giving the wine a richer mouthfeel. Its closest rivals are the likes of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, which it can also be blended with.

Semillon grapes can also produce sweet wine varieties, such as French Sauternes and Barsac. In this process, residual sugars remain after fermentation giving the wine its sweet taste.


What is the difference between Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc is one of Australia's most popular white wines, characterised by its green-skinned grapes' bold citrus and fruity flavours. On the other hand, Semillon is a golden-skinned grape offering more subtlety in its taste, less acidity and a heavier body. If you wanted the best of both worlds, you could always opt for a blend of the two grapes.

White wine on table with oysters

How do you serve and store Semillon?

To get the most out of its cellaring attributes, it’s best to store your Semillon in a cool, dark place where the temperature remains consistent at around 12 degrees celsius. If the temperature fluctuates, it can ruin the ageing properties of this precious wine.

Younger bottles of Semillon should be served chilled between 7-10 degrees celsius. As the bottle matures, 10-13 degrees celsius is ideal; overchilling can interfere with the complex flavours of the aged wine.

McGuigan Bin 9000 Hunter Valley Semillon next to platter of food

How long can you keep Semillon wine?

Semillon has a generous shelf life of between 15 and 20 years. With extended cellaring, it will darken to a golden appearance, and the nutty and honey flavours will be enhanced, overpowering the previous citrus flavours it had at a younger age.


How much alcohol does a Semillon wine have?

A typical bottle of Semillon will have between 10-12% alcohol.


How many calories are in a bottle of Semillon?

There are around 80 calories per 100ml of Semillon.


What are the best food pairings for Semillon wine?

With zesty lemon undertones, younger Semillons pair well with seafood dishes, such as grilled fish, oysters with Asian dressing, steamed clams, and salt and pepper squid. These dishes can be complemented with a side serving of light vegetables.

As your Semillon matures, consider pairing it with richer recipes featuring chicken or pork. Pasta with a cream-based sauce can also be an ideal match for an aged Semillon. It’s best to steer clear of red meats that can overpower the Semillon’s delicate flavours.


Discover McGuigan Semillon Wine

Our range of Semillon wine is expertly grown and cultivated in the lush Hunter Valley. To get started try some of the following Semillion wines:


Ready to find the perfect bottle of wine for your next occasion? Browse our selection of premier Semillon white wines or view our entire range of everyday wines