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Samantha Connew on Hunter Valley Semillon

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Samantha Connew – Winemaker, Show Judge and Society Tasting Panellist

We are really excited to welcome our newest Wine Society Tasting Panellist, Samantha Connew. Her impressive CV has taken her around the world, working vintages in Australia, Italy, Spain the USA. She has also been Senior Winemaker at McLaren Vale’s Wirra Wirra Vineyards and Tower Estate in the Hunter Valley. Currently she is Senior Winemaker at Stargazer Wines and Chairman of Judges at the Sydney Royal Wine Show. There is no doubt that Samantha is passionate about the Australian wine industry!

Below, Samantha discusses Hunter Valley Semillon and reminisces about the first time she tried this unique wine style!

Samantha Connew

“I remember the first time I tried a Hunter Semillon: it was at a tasting in New Zealand and it was a McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Lovedale Sem with a few years on it. I would have bet my recently accrued university debt that it had seen oak so was mystified when told that it hadn’t.

Ever since then I have been intrigued with the style and the wines, particularly as there is no replica anywhere else in the world, so it was no surprise that after some years I ended up in the Hunter having a bash at it myself!

The delight these days is that the more ‘modern’ styles such as Andrew Thomas’ O.C. are so much more approachable as young wines, juicy and vibrant, similar to my other white love, Riesling. Semillon also has in common with Riesling that it is completely transparent; there is no room for mistakes or for anything less than immaculate fruit and winemaking skill in these wines.”

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