Semillon is the grape behind some of the world’s most extraordinary wines, yet its image remains discreet in a world where Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are consumer brands in their own right. Semillon is a fascinating grape whose potential weaknesses can be transformed into its greatest strengths by clever winemakers, spawning classic wine styles for which it is rightly famed. Semillon can become flabby and tasteless in hot climates, so in Australia’s New South Wales, growers in the warm Hunter Valley pick Semillon unripe, giving an iconic wine style. In France’s Bordeaux wine region, producers exploit its tendency to rot, blending shrivelled Semillon grapes with zesty Sauvignon in the legendary sweet wines of Sauternes. Semillon/Sauvignon is a successful pairing in other wines too, the basis of dry white Bordeaux as well as top-notch wines from Western and South Australia.