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Home Winners > Winners 2020 > Semillon & Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc Blends

Winner Details

Semillon & Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc Blends

We’ve said for many years that Semillon is an under-represented area of this competition, and that with a bit more backing from submitters it could really shine. And finally it did. The wines came in, and, as expected, the tasters loved them.

Four Golds was our best performance here by quite some way, and this was backed up with a solid number of further medals. Even Sem’s biggest fans in our tasting teams recognised that these wines aren’t necessarily going to walk off your list unaided, but they can make for a stimulating alternative to Sauv B, and judge after judge commented on their exciting food-matching potential.

Interestingly – and much to our collective surprise – it wasn’t all about Australia. In fact, Semillon’s New World home only took four of the ten medals. There were top medals from Napa (eh?) and Argentina (double eh?) and a good number from the Cape too.

On this evidence, David ‘Ghost Corner’ Nieuwoudt (who also picked up a Sauvignon Gold) clearly has a very special bit of cool-climate dirt in Elgin.

From The Tasting Teams

‘There were some interesting things from South Africa. They were very fresh, and quite spicy.’ Rui Pereira, Cavalry and Guards Club

‘We had a religious divide here about where the beauty of varietal characteristics kick in and end, and where the ugly world of faults starts.’ Jan Konetzki, team leader

‘It was interesting to find different regions with different starting price points, like South Africa and Napa, for example.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘We flagged a few here that would be nice by the glass. Some were from warmer areas, so they were more opulent and rich. As long as that’s balanced with good acidity then for certain regions it’s their classic character.’ Jan Van Heesvelde, L’Enclume

‘You can sell these by name, but blind it’s still very difficult. When they come from an elegant area such as the Hunter Valley, they’re more drinkable and creamy.’ Riccardo Guzzardo, Hakkasan Mayfair

‘I see Semillon as being a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, but with smoky richness compared to that crisp, acidic style of Sauvignon. And it’s usually fantastic when it comes to food pairing.’ Michael Driscoll, Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa

‘Semillon is a useful variety. People still ask for it and aren’t too bothered where it comes from.’ Nelio Pinto, Candlesticks

‘I’m not sure everyone understands Semillon.’ Victoria Sharples, St John Restaurant Group

Award winners

Found 13 wines

New World: Semillon & Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc

El Enemigo, Semillon 2017, Mendoza, Argentina

Gold medal winner

'A broad and generous style, this is rich and powerful, with a lot of oak.' Victoria Sharples, St John Restaurant Group. 'This is showing some quince and acacia aromas, leading to a creamy vanilla texture on the palate, along with ripe peach and mango flavours, some nutty almond notes on the mid-palate and a slight ginger note on the finish.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London.

£15.34 Bibendum

St Supéry, Virtú 2017, Napa Valley, California, USA

Gold medal winner

'This opens with ripe yellow fruit and some delicate oaky, vanilla aromas, leading to a complex, creamy texture with quince, ripe pear and pineapple notes, and a delicate smoky character, with fenugreek and almond notes on the long finish.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London. 'Characteristically tropical, with kiwis and mangoes all the way, this is rich and generous.' Michael Driscoll, Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa.

£23.70 Jeroboams

Paulett Vineyards, Watervale, Semillon 2019, Clare Valley, Australia

Gold medal winner

'This has an elegant nose of citrus and white stone fruit, with a balanced, flesh palate.' Michael Fiducia, Royal Automobile Club. 'An aroma of gentle white flowers and citrus notes, with acidity pretty present on the palate, and a touch of spice as well.' Riccardo Guzzardo, Hakkasan Mayfair. 'Delicate peach and yellow flower aromas, with some refreshing acidity.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London.

£9.85 Ellis of Richmond

Ghost Corner, The Bowline 2017, Elim, South Africa

Gold medal winner

'Just a lovely wine, with subtle, generous fruit on the nose, and an exciting mix of burnt pepper and fruit on the palate, with some nice green flavours too.' Michael Driscoll, Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa. 'This is a textured style, opening with intense grassy and bell pepper aromas, and leading to gooseberry, grapefruit and some slightly nutty, delicate oaky aromas that add complexity.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London.

£17.69 Bibendum

Rikus Neethling, Bizoe, Henriëtta 2017, Franschhoek, South Africa

Silver medal winner

'This has an enticing nose of tropical fruit, such as cantaloupe melon and guava, with a dollop of vanilla cream, and with a palate that's well-rounded and balanced.' Michael Fiducia, Royal Automobile Club. 'Notes of almonds, raisins and dried lemon peel.' Jan Van Heesvelde, L’Enclume.

£15.50 Davy's Wine Merchants

Tokara, Director's Reserve, White 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Silver medal winner

'An oak-driven wine with great balance, with the oak adding body, complexity and spice.' Laurent Richet MS, team leader. 'Aromas of marzipan, green bell pepper and broad beans that are quite complex and alluring, with sweet fruit on a very appealing palate, with a hint of oak.' Michael Driscoll, Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa.

£21.59 London Wine Shippers

Fraser Gallop, Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Silver medal winner

'A herbaceous style with lovely lemon and gooseberry, showing some crisp acidity with a chalky finish.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London. 'Great New World Sauvignon Blanc character here, with green fruit and a bright, refreshing profile with a hint of salinity. Perky and true to the grape and place.' Jade Koch, team leader.

£13.90 Bibendum

Pierro, LTC, Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

'This has some quite precise green fruit, with a crisp apple character on the palate as well as some warmth and a hint of sweetness, but very punchy acid too - this would suit food.' Jade Koch, team leader. 'A moreish, grown-up style of wine, with grass and nettles underpinned with spice and integrated oak. A contemplative and interesting wine.' Victoria Sharples, St John Restaurant Group.

£16.00 Jeroboams

Larry Cherubino, Pedestal, Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Bronze medal winner

'This is showing some herbaceous notes along with some bell pepper and an ashy smokiness.' Rui Pereira, Cavalry and Guards Club. 'A very aromatic and citrus wine, with some good length.' Jan Konetzki, team leader. 'Notes of peppermint and grapefruit.' Elena Serban, Heritage Restaurant.

£15.17 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Ghost Corner, Semillon 2017, Elim, South Africa

Bronze medal winner

'Some intense bell pepper and tomato leaf aromas, with rich grassy and gooseberry flavours, some stony minerality and a refreshing zingy finish.' Valentin Radosav, Gymkhana Restaurant London. 'A really pungent wine that's spicy, with some green pepper and ashy charcoal notes.' Rui Pereira, Cavalry and Guards Club.

£16.12 Bibendum

Garage Wine Co, Semillon 2018, Maule Valley, Chile

Commended medal winner

£20.48 Bibendum

Domaines & Vineyard, Picaroon Sauvignon/Semillon in keg 2017, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£235.98 Size: 2000cl Castelnau Wine Agencies

Moss Wood, Semillon 2018, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia

Commended medal winner

£13.35 Jeroboams

 

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