It really is just complete BS that I have never heard or tried a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend before I moved to Perth. The wine world NEEDS more of this balanced and bright wine with a touch of oak (no not you Chardonnay). These varietals seem to compliment each other so well, I can’t drink them by themselves anymore!
So where do they come from? What’s the SECRET?
Sauvignon Blanc Semillon: Old World
Do you ever go to research something and find exactly what you were looking for? For example a timeline covering the complete history of the SBS blend from Wine Australia? Never usually happens to me, either. But here we are.
To go back further, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends originate from France (of course). According to Wine Searcher, both white varietals are predominant in the Graves district within the Bordeaux region of France. Both Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon can also be used in dry and sweet wines. Usually involving botrytis, these varietals can be used to make Sauternes – also from Bordeaux. Sauternes are sweet dessert wines usually with strong honey notes and a gold colour.
The Bordeaux Region
The Graves AOC is notable for red varietals and the blend of Sauvignon Blanc Semillon. The Bordeaux region has a temperate and Mediterranean climate, with maritime influence from it’s close proximity to the ocean. Sunlight during the day on the growing vines and cool nights to break up temperatures throughout the canopy make this region something very special.
The SBS blend is the modern twist on what used to be a classic white varietal blend from the region. Adapted to changes in the consumer palate and demand. White wine blends that are crisp, dry and fresh have become predominantly more popular among wine drinkers around the world.
Sauvignon Blanc Semillon: New World
DO YOU KNOW WHO ELSE HAS THIS CLIMATE? The temperate and Mediterranean climate with ocean influence and ample sunshine? Margaret River, Western Australia. Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends have erupted throughout the New World, gaining traction with unparalleled quality and popularity in Wine Paradise. The Australian sunshine ripens the grapes, yet ocean breezes in the afternoon cool the canopies down throughout the evening leaving natural acidity and powerful flavour accumulation.
Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, separately, have been predominant white varietals in Australia throughout it’s winemaking history. According to Wine Australia, it was around 1831 that Semillon was introduced in the Hunter Valley and the early 1800s for Sauvignon Blanc. They also do not put the accent on Sémillon, which takes some getting used to. The Margaret River region was pioneered by Dr. Tom Cullity in 1967, after he studied the reports written from Harold Olmo, from the University of California Davis (!!!), describing the wine grape potential of the south-west region of Australia. Tom Cullity founded Vasse Felix (!!) and kickstarted the discovery of a region that has maintained a consistent climate year after year and is producing world renowned wines.
Described as “inherently complimentary” these two varieties can produce a blend of wine that takes the desirables from each varietal and creates the seamless fusion now nicknamed SBS (Wine Australia).
Sauvignon Blanc Semillon: The Blend
Sauvignon Blanc is a white varietal with bright flavours, green grass and subtle tropical fruit notes. Semillon is also a white varietal with typically light/medium body, delicate honey notes and citrus. Together? Usually involves oak maturation, producing a medium bodied wine with the perfect array of tropical fruit, citrus and good acidity. The SBS blend is predominately Sauvignon Blanc whereas another popular interpretation is the SSB, predominantly Semillon.
It really is one of my favourite blends. As I have only ever had it from Margaret River, I would highly suggest any SBS from this Wine Paradise. All dynamically different but involve innovative and unique winemaking processes.
What to try!
- Vasse Felix 2018 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon $26 AUD
- Howard Park 2018 Miamup Sauvignon Blanc Semillon $28 AUD
- Wise Wine 2019 Sea Urchin Sauvignon Blanc Semillon $20 AUD
But I also have not had an SBS that I don’t like. Explore this incredible blend and support this special region, happy sipping!