Sometimes blended with Chardonnay to create limey, buttery, rounded white wines, Semillon deserves a listing on its own for the weighty, toasty, almost smoky wines made from it in newer wine-making countries. Semillon is interesting - it's a chameleon-like grape.

Sometimes it makes lean, grassy whites that would be out of place in this style section, but when it's ripe, mature and sometimes oak-aged, it certainly falls into the 'rich whites' category. Then it makes just about the best dessert wines in the world as well.

A versatile beast, then. Admittedly, the wines don't often taste like that at the very beginnning. They have a more grassy, lean character, although that lime juice usually makes them succulent and characterful. But after a few years in bottle, Semillon comes over all toasty and rich, as if spread with lime marmalade and honeycomb, yet strangely still dry.

It's seriously attractive wine, Semillon, and if you're bored with oaky Chardonnay but still hanker after a full-on flavour, make it your next stop. Despite its appeal, this is an underrated style of wine, set to become more popular as the craze for Chardonnay wears off. Not all great Semillons are made in Australia, by the way - a few worthwhile ones are now being made in South Africa and Argentina, too.

BORDEAUX Semillon from Bordeaux can be extraordinarily good: rounded and weighty, with lemony freshness, and again, that honeyed, almost smokey/nutty appeal once aged. It's often blended with the zestier Sauvignon Blanc and aged in oak barrels to add extra depth and flavour.

The top white Bordeaux in this style can be a knock-out, but be prepared to shell out for it. Oh, and you'll need a good cellar as they take a long time in bottle to mellow out and reach their best.

As with Chardonnay in Burgundy, they don't put 'Semillon' on the label in Bordeaux, but many whites from the area contain this grape. Not all, however, will be rich and flavoursome. In fact, a lot of cheap white Bordeaux is dilute and tart. Go for the glorious chateaux of Graves and Pessac-Leognan if you want to taste the most serious and exciting.

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