What’s the difference between SSB and SBS?
Stef explains, “The acronym ‘SSB’ stands for Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and with Semillon added in front of Sauvignon Blanc means there is a larger percentage of Semillon compared to Sauvignon Blanc in the blend (except on the odd occasion it is 50/50). The acronym ‘SBS’ stands for Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and so this wine has a higher quantity of Sauvignon Blanc in the blend than Semillon.
Semillon and Sauvignon are traditionally blended in Bordeaux but this blend has proven very popular in WA, in particular Margaret River. Margaret River is compared to Bordeaux with its cool and maritime climate and similar soil structure. Some could say Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend is home in WA and with all the choices out there, it would be hard to disagree.
Regarding the characteristics of the grape varieties; Semillon is textured and can have a waxiness to it with lime notes and tends to age much longer than the fruit driven Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll find some fantastic aged Semillons in particular in the Hunter Valley. Notes of grass, lemon and honey are also associated to this grape variety. Sauvignon Blanc tends to be crisp with refreshing acidity with aromas of cut grass, fresh fruit, gooseberries and in some places, a touch of minerality.
There’s such diversity in this blend, we have over 30 different blends in store some of which we have mentioned a selection below of some of the most recent vintages.”
Singlefile Great Southern Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2018 from Great Southern, WA
In order to decide what would be the best blend of both varieties there were several blending trials. Singlefile’s aim was to produce a “dry, fresh and aromatic styled wine with structure and length of flavour.”
This is dry, just 1.0 g/L of RS (residual sugar).
The blend is 51% Semillon and 49% Sauvignon Blanc.
Fraser Gallop Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2018 from Margaret River
Fraser Gallop Winery was completed just in time for the 2008, the wines and team have won numerous awards. The vineyards are located in the sub-region of the Wilyabrup. Clive Otto the winemaker since 2007, won the 2009 Decanter World Wine Awards Trophy for the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the world for the Fraser Gallop 2007 vintage which was the first wine he produced at Fraser Gallop. British Wine Writer Jancis Robinson said of the Parterre Chardonnay “Worth comparing to a Burgundy Grand Cru.”
This blend is more dominant in Semillon with 69% Semillon and 31% Sauvignon Blanc. The warmer area means the Semillon can ripen producing golden bunches with a strong citrus flavour. The team combine the Semillon with a Sauvignon Blanc that comes from a cooler area which gives it more acidity and aromatics. This again is a bone dry wine at 1.0 g/L of RS (residual sugar).
Both grape varieties were picked in the coolness of the morning and taken straight to the winery. They were then destemmed and crushed and gently pumped through a must chiller on its way to the press. After this the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks to keep the fresh bright fruit flavours and aromatics using two different yeasts. In order to add texture, a small amount of Semillon was fermented in French oak barrels.
Juniper Crossing 2017 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River
The awards for this wine includes a Gold Medal (Top of Class) at the 2017 Perth Royal Wine Awards, Silver Medal at the 2017 Wine Show of Western Australia and Silver Medal at the 2017 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards.
The Wilyabrup vineyards were first planted back in 1973 (when it was called Wright’s) when there were only five other wine producers in Margaret River; Vasse Felix, Woodlands, Cape Mentelle, Cullen and Moss Wood.
The blend is more dominant with Semillon at 55% and Sauvignon Blanc at 45%. The majority (95%) was fermented in stainless steel tanks with different yeasts and 5% (all Semillon) was fermented in barrel for 3 months in order to help build texture.
Grace Farm 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon from Margaret River
The initial vines were planted in 2006 in the Wilyabrup sub region of the Margaret River. Grace Farm is family owned and family run.
The 2017 SBS blend is made up of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon. Both grape varieties were crushed and immediately pressed into stainless steel tanks. Then 10% of these turbid juices were then transferred immediately into new French oak barriques where they underwent wild yeast barrel fermentation. The remainder 90% of juice was clarified and inoculated with cultured yeast.
After six weeks of barrel fermentation and maturation, all the different batches were blended together into a one tank, then the wine was filtered and then bottled. This again, is a dry wine at just 2.0g/L of RS.
Hay Shed Hill Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2017 from Margaret River
Michael Kerrigan has been the owner of Hay Shed Hill along with wife Leith Pavlinovich since 2006. The winery is located in the heart of the Wilyabrup Valley.
For this wine, only free run juice was used. Free run juice is the juice that comes from freshly picked grapes freely before they are pressed. This is the highest in quality with the most intense fruit expression and the lowest in undesirable phenolic skin characters. By fermenting in stainless steel tanks at low temperature with no oak influence, meant it has preserved and highlighted the fruit characters in these varieties.
The blend is Sauvignon Blanc 55% and Semillon 45%
West Cape Howe 2017 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Mount Barker
West Cape Howe state the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc wine as their most popular wine. The Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc fruit is sourced from cool climate vineyards in the South West of Western Australia. It is an almost 50/50 blend of both grapes. According to West Cape Howe, the Sauvignon Blanc provides the fresh herbaceousness while the Semillon provides the lemony flavours and the good palate weight. By harvesting at night, fermenting at cool temperatures and bottling early means maximum fruit flavour and vibrancy in the wine is kept.
Pitchfork 2017 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River is made by Hay Shed Hill
The wine sees no oak with fermentation in stainless steel tanks and then bottled at an early age. During production the team kept the wine at a low temperature to preserve the finer fruit characters of these aromatic varieties.
The blend is Semillon 60% Sauvignon Blanc 40%.
Drop in and ask us about these wines and blends!