I discovered Semillon in Australia (and, yes, if you ever meet me, I do pronounce it “wrong”), where it seemed to be served in abundance — at every restaurant, wine bar, and shop. I fell in love with the grape honestly thinking we didn’t have it here in the States. With less that 1,000 acres of Semillon planted in California, and with most of that being blended into other varietals (usually to act as a “softener” to more fruit-forward white wines like Sauvignon Blanc), it’s no wonder I had that impression.
Suffice it to say that when I finally discovered that I can get 100% Semillon in my hometown, I’ve been snatching up tastes, glasses, and bottles anywhere I can get it. Now the American version, wherever you get it, is vastly different than that produced by my friends down under. But this expression from Yorkville Cellars is everything I’d expect from what could very well be my favorite white grape — smoothed textured, delicate acidity, a balance of fruit and earth. And, as Yorkville Cellars Founder and Grower Ed Wallo says, “Semillon is notable as being one of the few white varietals that is very ageable; so your choice: enjoy it now or let it develop a bit more and include it in a special occasion.”
About the Wine: The Yorkville Cellars 2015 Semillon is made from 100% Semillon grapes harvested from the Yorkville Cellars estate vineyards. The grapes were all handpicked and crushed directly to press then cold-settled for 24 hours. The wine fermented and aged in 100% French oak for five months.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Yorkville Cellars 2015 Semillon and breathe in springtime aromas of fresh apples, apple blossoms, and cold butter. This Semillon pours with a very pale straw color, settling into the glass as a dull yellow — the shade of yellow you’d actually picture straw being. Initial aromas are of lemongrass, a very blonde caramel, and pollen. Swirl and enliven a thin line of acidity, finding notes of soft pears and persimmons. Pull the nose away to find a light background aroma of honey-nut.
The palate of the Yorkville Cellars 2015 Semillon is smooth and soft at first, with just a delicate rising acidity that ultimately coats the tongue. The finish is a literally “omg” moment (as in, that’s exactly what I wrote in my tasting notes), as the mouth is full of flavor and a dryish texture lightly blankets the perimeter of the inner lips and cheeks. Dominant flavors are of yellow apples, green pears, pollen, white flower petals, under-ripe persimmon, and a kind of oat-y or wheaty-ness.
Food Pairing: I paired the Yorkville Cellars 2015 Semillon with pan-seared halibut, cauliflower purée, and broccolini seasoned with butter and garlic. This was a beautiful food and wine pairing. The innate dryness of the wine perfectly cut through the oilier elements on the dish as well as added an extra level of texture — albeit a light one. Meanwhile, the earthy-floral elements contrasted the natural sweetness of the halibut and cauliflower while simultaneously playing down the cruciferous, bitter nature of the broccoli.
More Info: I received the Yorkville Cellars 2015 Semillon as a sample for review. (Cheers Ed!) Retail: $24. For more information about Yorkville Cellars, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Yorkville Cellars website.
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