\u201cS\u00e9millon can be amazing and average,\u201d says Pauline Lapierre Dietrich, winemaker for Ch\u00e2teau Haut-Rian in Bordeaux. It all depends on how winemakers treat it in the vineyard and winery, she says. Clone and site matter, as do yield size and vinification.\r\n\r\nLight- to medium-bodied, with trademark waxiness, S\u00e9millon\u2019s aromas include hay, white flowers and lemon in youth. Those notes turn honeyed and toasty with age. It stars in white blends worldwide, especially alongside Sauvignon Blanc in the classic white wines of Bordeaux.\r\n\r\nAs a varietal wine, however, S\u00e9millon is capable of stylistic acrobatics of balance and tension.\r\n\r\nFrom sublime French dessert wines to dry and bright Australian bottles, S\u00e9millon has incredible range when done right.\r\n\r\n\u201cS\u00e9millon is deep and so complex, you never get bored,\u201d says Lapierre Dietrich.\r\n\r\nEager to understand all the grape has to offer? Here\u2019s a style guide to S\u00e9millon around the world.\r\n\r\n\r\nFrance\r\nS\u00e9millon is most known for its work at home in France, where it partners with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle to create sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac. To produce these wines, humid conditions are key. A fungus, Botrytis cinerea, grows on the fruit, and the resulting \u201cnoble rot\u201d concentrates the sugars, flavors and acids as the grape shrivels.\r\n\r\nSmall quantities of luscious, oak-aged wine reveal flavors of honey, apricot, spice, saffron and smoke.\r\n\r\nIn Bordeaux, winemakers have long made dry S\u00e9millon expressions, too. A typical white wine includes S\u00e9millon, Sauvignon Blanc and sometimes Muscadelle. Simple, fresh expressions hail from Entre-deux-Mers, where they are typically aged in stainless steel.\r\n\r\nS\u00e9millon is also included in the dry, oaked and ageable whites of Graves and Pessac-L\u00e9ognan. Such wines are stars in the firmament of Bordeaux: full-bodied, creamy and capable of aging for decades.\r\n\r\nOne trend to watch, says C\u00e9cile Ha of the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB), is the move toward making dry whites in traditionally sweet regions.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere\u2019s an increase in S\u00e9millon-based wines, both blended and single varietal, in the south,\u201d she says. \u201cClos des Lunes, Ch\u00e2teau Guiraud\u2019s Le G, Y from d\u2019Yquem and R de Rieussec illustrate this trend.\u201d\r\nAustralia\r\nMuch like Malbec\u2019s emigration from Old World to New, Semillon, as it\u2019s spelled without the accent Down Under, has established roots abroad. Though the grape grows broadly across the country, three regions have distinctive styles.\r\n\r\nIn the cool climate of Western Australia\u2019s Margaret River, Semillon lends weight to dry, crisp Bordeaux-style blends. In South Australia\u2019s warmer Barossa Valley, old bush vines produce waxy, riper, fuller-bodied versions, often aged in barrels.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, many producers from Hunter Valley in New South Wales eschew oak and pick Semillon early for a dry, bright, lemony profile that\u2019s low in alcohol, typically 10\u201311.5% alcohol by volume (abv).\r\n\r\nAfter six years in the bottle, the wine takes on flavors of toast, smoke and honey. It\u2019s unique and can evolve for a decade or more.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe make Semillon like nowhere else in the world,\u201d says James Agnew, owner of Audrey Wilkinson.\r\n\r\n\r\nSouth Africa\r\nAccounting for more than 90% of South Africa\u2019s wine grape production by the 1820s, S\u00e9millon took a backseat to trendier grapes like Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc after the phylloxera epidemic devastated vineyards in the 1880s. A quota system introduced in the 1950s further diminished the grape\u2019s stature.\r\n\r\nToday, styles vary from dry and fresh, to sweet and rich. Creation Wines, in coastal Hemel-en-Aarde, focuses on the grape\u2019s capacity for brightness over breadth.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe make a fresher, greener style, less waxy, that has a real salinity that\u2019s appealing with food,\u201d says winemaker Jean-Claude Martin.\r\n\r\nOne rarity largely particular to South Africa is S\u00e9millon Gris, a mutation also called \u201cred\u201d S\u00e9millon for its pink-skinned grapes. Thorne & Daughters makes a skin-fermented version called Tin Soldier that\u2019s akin to an Italian ramato-style Pinot Grigio.\r\n\r\nAnd several small producers feature S\u00e9millon Gris and old-vine S\u00e9millon, though Boekenhoutskloof has made ageworthy stuff \u201clong before it was a thing,\u201d says Jim Clarke, marketing manager for the Wines of South Africa trade group.\r\nChile\r\nS\u00e9millon was critical to Chile\u2019s grape industry in the 1950s, but by the 1970s, many growers ripped it out in favor of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Today, much of its remaining acres feature 100-year-old vines that produce a distinctive style of S\u00e9millon.\r\n\r\nAmanda Barnes, author of the South America Wine Guide, thinks that S\u00e9millon could be Chile\u2019s next big thing.\r\n\r\n\u201cMost winemakers working with Chile's old-vine S\u00e9millon are making these wines on an artisanal scale, with authentic and sensitive winemaking,\u201d she says.\r\n\r\nThough techniques vary, typical aromas of varietal Chilean S\u00e9millon include citrus, florals and hay woven through a dry, fresh profile plumped with lees stirring for texture.\r\n\r\n\r\nUnited States\r\nThough not widely planted in the U.S., S\u00e9millon grows in Washington State and California. In Washington\u2019s Columbia Valley, long warm days ripen the fruit, while brisk nights help with acid retention. Producers can achieve a rich, complex profile without sacrificing freshness. Typical aromatics include lemon, honeysuckle and orchard fruits. L\u2019Ecole No. 41\u2019s varietal bottles have earned the winery a soft spot in the hearts of S\u00e9millon lovers.\r\n\r\nIn Napa, Forlorn Hope works with 70-year-old vines and ages its Nacr\u00e9 S\u00e9millon for five years in bottles before release to emulate the racy, low-alcohol style of Hunter Valley. Natural wine producer Dirty & Rowdy also makes a skin-contact, concrete egg-fermented version. Other California winemakers feature S\u00e9millon as the lead in Bordeaux-style blends.