As featured in the March issue of Business Day WANTED: Plantings of Semillon currently amount to approximately one percent of the national vineyard making it very much a niche variety. It typically tends to have good palate weight but can be slightly lacking in acidity so therefore makes a good blending partner with Sauvignon Blanc and South Africa is making a name for itself with such wines, benchmark examples being Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh and Vergelegen White.
That said, Semillon is capable of single variety wines of great distinction, these appearing in a variety of styles from intensely herbaceous and pure fruited to rich and heavily wooded. It is unlikely that the variety will ever have a very great following but for those in the know, there are top quality wines to be had.
Constantia Uitsig has always produced a good example and the 2009 vintage is particularly worth seeking out, the wine sitting somewhere in the middle of the stylistic spectrum with succulent fruit and just the merest hint of oak-derived flavours such as vanilla and spice. Grapes come from a 1.5ha block planted in 1991; fermentation was begun in tank before being completed in second- and third-fill barrels, where it was matured for seven months. Just starting to open up now and should drink well until 2016. Price per bottle: R145. Tel 021 794 1810, firstname.lastname@example.org