Semillon – Did you know?

Semillon was planted at Rosnay for a variety of reasons. As a stand alone varietal wine, it offers a huge spectrum of opportunity from the crisp and green Hunter Valley style to the rich and honeyed late harvest style and botrytised wines. As a blending option, it gives character and lighter tones to Chardonnay, where it has been “hidden” at below the 15% labelling threshold for decades (see Chardonnay-Semillon tasting notes).

Rosnay’s first varietal Semillon was produced in 2004, picked quite early, but not as early as 2003, when picked green to add acidity for blending with Chardonnay. The 2005 vintage was picked slightly riper than 2004, receiving excellent reviews (above), whilst no varietal Semillon was made in 2006, due to the small crop and the blending requirements for the 2006 Chardonnay-Semillon.

The vineyard is 2.5 hectares, planted by the Statham family in 1999 with Semillon clones BVRC 14 and BV 21/35, on a north facing slope of very sandy loam on shallow red clay and decomposed granite. This soil is some of the lighter (well drained and dry) soil on the property, chosen because of the high vigour observed in Semillon in other parts of the region. However, vigour has not been a problem on this site – quite the contrary. The 2006 vintage was just 40% of the 2005 vintage, largely the impact of drought stress.