Home Winners > Winners 2019 > NEW WORLD: Semillon & Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc

Winner Details

New World: Semillon & Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc

2019  Gold 2        Silver 2                 Bronze 0              Commended 5
2018  Gold 1        Silver 3                 Bronze 2              Commended 6

We don’t get huge numbers of Semillon and Semillon blends sent into the Sommelier Wine Awards, which is a shame, because somms are interested in it in the same way that old grannies like wrestling. They’re not sure they really understand it, but it’s good fun nonetheless.

Actually, that’s slightly disingenuous. Our tasters this year generally knew what they were looking for, and for the most part they found it – the challenge remains how you peddle it to a largely uncomprehending public. ‘In blends with Sauvignon’ and ‘with specific dishes’ seemed the general consensus.

Main observation from this year’s results? Our first ever ‘double Gold’ – something perhaps not unconnected to the fact that we had a half-decent number of entries from outside Australia for the first time. Could this be the start of the variety’s renaissance, we wonder?


‘It was an interesting range, with some lighter than others and different levels of oak influence. I was looking for the typicity of the grape. Some had that lovely oily, kerosene, waxy characteristic, which is something you’d like to see.’ Michael Fiducia, The Royal Automobile Club

‘Some of those at the higher prices weren’t the best, but the medium range wines were showing nicely. They had complexity and intensity, and were definitely wines you could pair with food. Between £10 and £15 you could justify those prices.’ Stefano Barbarino, Chez Bruce Restaurant

‘It’s lovely to see Semillon with this great range of styles. They’re making it very well, with some very clever styles coming out. They might be pricing it as the next big thing, to knock the crown off Sauvignon Blanc.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

Award winners

Found 8 wines

New World: Semillon & Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc

Tokara, Director's Reserve, White 2016, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Gold medal winner

It was the ‘hint of petrol and hot tarmac, lovely core of chunky fruit, fresh acidity and good intensity’ that elevated this to Gold for team leader Angela Reddin, while Michael Fiducia of The Royal Automobile Club was impressed by the ‘warming nose of ripe gooseberry, with lime undertones’ and the ‘nuances of ripe brioche within the creamy rich palate’, suggesting a match with ‘grilled prawns’. Anita Vighova of Manor House Hotel also thought it would be ‘great to match with food’, and The Fat Duck’s Annamaria Juhasz described it as an ‘excellent wine’ that ‘needs some creamy seafood’.

£15.45 Awin Barratt Siegel Wine Agencies

Mount Pleasant, Cellar Aged, Elizabeth, Semillon 2009, New South Wales, Australia

Gold medal winner

For team leader Angel Reddin this Gold medal winner offered ‘toast, lemon curd, a whiff of nutty oak and beeswax’ as well as a ‘slight spritz’, while Michael Fiducia of The Royal Automobile Club described it as ‘green-flecked gold with a generous nose of concentrated lime and oily characteristics’, with a ‘light petillance and opulent, oaked palate’. ‘Powerful, full and buttery with tropical fruit and a baked bread, new oak feel,’ thought Jim Bass of Scarlet Hotel, and Annamaria Juhasz of The Fat Duck noted: ‘The nose has a baked bread, yeasty character alongside yellow apples and green pears. It is bone dry, medium bodied and savoury, with a waxy texture. The palate mirrors the nose – lots of bread dough and green fruit.’ She further described it as ‘a good example of an ageing Semillon’.

£13.52 Enotria&Coe

Rikus Neethling, Bizoe, Henriëtta 2016, Franschhoek, South Africa

Silver medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin found ‘an oxidative nose with toast, lemon curd and hedgerow flowers’ and described the palate as ‘clean and broad, quite beautiful and intense’. Meanwhile Stefano Barbarino of Chez Bruce Restaurant liked the ‘butter and saline finish that would match well with seabass or turbot’.

£15.31 Davy's Wine Merchants

Carmen, Quijada #1, Semillón 2017, Apalta, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Silver medal winner

Team leader Angela Reddin enjoyed the ‘shaved lemon nose with notes of hawthorn and a faint whiff of honey’, and said: ‘Languid at first, this gains power across the palate moving to very lovely elongated finish; will age.’ ‘Lovely with grilled fish or white meat,’ suggested Scarlet Hotel’s Jim Bass, while for Annamaria Juhasz of The Fat Duck it was ‘so interesting, a real talking point wine’.

£19.50 Viña Carmen

Peter Lehmann, Margaret, Semillon 2012, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£13.02 Liberty Wines

Henschke, Louis, Semillon 2015, South Australia , Australia

Commended medal winner

£16.23 Enotria&Coe

Elgin Vintners, The Century 2017, Elgin, South Africa

Commended medal winner

£18.00 Elgin Vintners

Madfish, Sauvignon/Semillon 2017, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£11.95 Enotria&Coe