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Old World vs. New World: Sémillon
A shadowy figure Sémillon cuts; DOES IT EVEN EXIST?! It’s a mysterious grape that knows how to blend in. And it sports disguise names—perhaps it is a spy! But reporting to whom?
No, Sémillon has an identity all its own that strikes me as a secret love child of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. It has that lanolin lick that gives it weight reminiscent of Chenin Blanc, and is likewise prone to botrytis, but can be herby and lemony and have striking acidity that calls to mind Sauvignon Blanc. Or is it just that it gets blended with Sauvignon Blanc, so we get confused? To add to the ball of confusion, given age, Sémillon gets those fun toasty and honeyed notes.
It has its idiosyncrasies, and yet it hides.
It takes cover behind the names Bordeaux and Sauternes . It masks itself in blends, botrytis, and oak…maybe Sémillon (also sometimes spelled without the accent over the e) WANTS to remain under the radar. Well, I’m blowing its cover. Sorry, Sémi, your time has come. Now take off your baggy wool sweater and strut your stuff.
I’m so sorry, I don’t mean to objectify it; it’s just more people should seek it out. This is my opinion, but you’re welcome to borrow it.
True, some of the most famed Sémillon-based wines are Sauternes, that lusciously sweet and ethereal nectar that gets its kick from noble rot. Those are another story. One I should write soon, probably.
But today I am looking at the dry Sémillon-based wines of the world.
Sémillon is mysterious in roots as it is in personality. It is similar to Sauvignon Blanc genetically, but they don’t seem to have a parent-child relationship. Its origins may be in Bordeaux’s Left Bank, or even the Entre-Deux-Mer, but confoundingly enough, it might be named for local pronunciation of St-Émilion, despite the fact that Semillon isn’t really cultivated there. But that is just a rumor.
I confess I likely tasted some of these far earlier than they would show best—although I’ve been told that during the first few years, they can be be great, then shut down until they are maybe 7. At least this is the lore of Hunter Valley.
Speaking of, shower wine pick? I’m going with the Andis Old Vines. Old vines because I like a wine from a vine with experience if it's gonna see me naked.
2019 Andis Wines Bill Dillian Old Vine Semillon
Andis is a perennial favorite of mine. Out of undersung Amador they also make a Barbera that makes my heartstrings go pling. But I’ll stick with the Semillon review right now. This Semillon would be a daytime robe. It is comforting, with plush apples and honey notes and the body of silk but its medium weight silk you want to wrap yourself in. But the acidity is acute, so you can get some work done while wearing it. It’s actually a robe that can translate from work-from-home robe to home dance party when the day is over and you are ready for fun robe, as it ends with flowery notes that invite you to party.
We couldn't be more proud of our team and the delicious wines we've been creating. From the likes of Jeb Dunnuck and James Suckling to Sunset Magazine the word is out that Amador County and Andis WInes are producing wines that rival the likes of Napa and Sonoma vintners.
Check out our current selection here - SHOP ANDIS WINES
Elevate your weeknight meals with a simple yet elegant lamb shoulder with a sauce made from garden herbs. For under $20 and in less than 15 minutes you can dine on Broiled Lamb Shoulder with Mint Chimichurri sauce.
Freshen up the 1960's pairing of lamb with jiggly mint jelly by drizzling your lamb with the Argentinian staple, Chimichurri.
We've decided to pair our dish with our Painted Fields Red Blend, meticulously balanced featuring 30% Malbec, another Argentinian favorite.
Lamb Shoulder with Mint Chimichurri
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped mint
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons red chile flakes
salt and pepper
2 pounds of lamb shoulder
Combine parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, red chile flakes, salt and pepper. Rub half of the mixture over 2 pounds of lamb shoulder chops or chunks, and marinate overnight.
Heat a grill or broiler with the rack 4 to 6 inches from the flame. Wipe off the marinade; grill or broil, turning once, until medium, 4 or 5 minutes per side. Serve with the remaining chimichurri.
Serve with roasted or salt boiled potatoes to soak up the extra Chimichurri sauce.
Spring is upon us in California and in wine country that means it's time to start the transition from red to white wines. As the days start to warm up and we spend more time outside reaching for a chilled glass of white wine can be the perfect addition to your day.
Salads and seafood are often easy pairings with white wine but we enjoy the richness of this Creamy Mushroom Bow Tie pasta with our 2018 Old Vine Semillon and our 2019 Cuveè Blanc. Both wines impart the perfect balance of citrus and bright pops of acidity that help cut through the richness of this pasta.
CREAMY MUSHROOM BOW TIE PASTA
2 c. bow tie pasta
4 oz. pancetta
2 T. shallots or onions, chopped fine
3/4 lb fresh mushrooms white button or cremini, 1/4" diced
3 T. buttered
fresh ground pepper
6 T heavy whipping cream
4 T parmesan, grated
1 T fresh parsley, finely chopped
squeeze of fresh lemon
1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water for time listed on package.
2. While pasta is cooking, sauté pancetta in a large sauté pan over medium heat until pancetta is crisp. Remove pancetta and drain on paper towel. In same pan add mushrooms & onion a pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Continue to sauté until mushroom liquid has cooked out.
3. Add butter to the mushrooms and onion. Once butter has melted add heavy cream. Stir over medium heat until sauce has slightly thickened.
4. Add cooked pasta directly to your sauté pan. Toss pasta to coat in sauce.
5. Sprinkle pasta with grated parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Serve hot out of pan.
Adapted from Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Mushroom, Ham and Cream Sauce.