Errazuriz Sena is the First Growth of Chile; its principle tour de force was overcoming a field of First Growths in what has become known as the Judgment of Berlin. Since then the proprietor Eduardo Chadwick has triumphantly travelled the world pitting his wine against the world’s best in blind tastings. Today’s release, the 2012 vintage is now recognised as their greatest ever vintage, supplanting the 2000, which trades today at £140 a bottle. The 2012 has been awarded 98 points by James Suckling, proclaiming it ‘the geatest Sena ever. (Winemaker and owner Agree).’ This makes the 2012 extremely compelling on release at £275 a case of 6x75cl.
A bottle of First Growth wine is priced more than a 6x75cl case of Sena and as the blind tastings prove, Sena embraces an old world style, with wonderful minerality, notes of chocolate, mocha, cedar, cigar box and left bank Bordeaux tell-tale cassis and blackcurrant. Sena is vibrant with astounding density and concentration of fruit. It is built to last and will improve for the next 20 years. Most First Growths have a Price Over Points score of 300, Sena 2012 has a POP Score of 30. It has become so pretigious globally that it is now being released through the Place de Bordeaux.
The Judgment of Paris was organised by Steven Spurrier in 1976 to pit the leading wines of California against the great wines of Bordeaux and was famous for shocking the wine world when California whitewashed their old world counterparts. In 2004 Eduardo Chadwick, Sena’s proprietor, invited 40 of Europe’s leading tasters, including Spurrier, to blind taste his prestige wines against 16 similar vintages of the First Growths and Super Tuscans. The outcome was remarkable, Sena 2000 tied for fourth place with Chateau Margaux 2001; Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2000 was third.
Sena was established as a joint venture between the powerhouse Chilean wine estate Vina Errazuriz and the colossus Robert Mondavi; its inaugural vintage was in 1995. In 2005 the Chadwick family took 100% ownership of Sena; Sena is the personal project of Eduardo Chadwick, who is realising his vision of creating an iconic wine that expresses the terrior of Chile. Sena translates as ‘personal signature’, a sign of Eduardo’s commitment to embracing the local soil, aspect and climate located in the Aconcagua Valley. In fact Don Maximiano Errazuriz – Eduardo’s great grandfather – founded Vina Errazuriz in 1870 in the Valle de Aconcagua, 100 kms north of Santiago, in order to take advantage of the cool rains and hot dry summers that experience moist and cool Pacific Ocean breezes, ideal for growing grapes; Don Maximiano sourced the vines from the finest clones of France.
Sena is a Bordeaux style blend, yet remains authentically Chilean, assembled from the finest Cabernet Sauvignon (75%), Carmenere, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot varieties. It is Eduardo’s view that Carmenere adds a Chilean personality to the wine, we agree, the wine would be poorer for its absence. All the grapes are sourced from the Sena hillside vineyards where the vines are tended using bio-dynamic principles. Sena embraces the paradigm of delicate handling, elegance and complexity and to this end the fruit is handpicked exclusively in the morning and painstakingly selected on sorting tables. The majority of the grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks, yet 6% are selected and fermented in new French oak barrels. No expense is spared with Sena, it is aged in 100% new French oak barrels for 18 months and 12,000 cases are made a year.
Errazuriz Sena 2012, 6×75 – £275 IB or £344.76 including duty and VAT
James Suckling – 98 points
A phenomenal red with aromas of blackberries, licorice, sandalwood and hot stones that turns to cigar box and hints of sweet tea. Full body, incredible depth and concentration, yet there’s also agility and playfulness to this. Long, fascinating and balanced. It talks to you. The greatest Seña ever. (Winemaker and owner agree.) There’s wonderful purity and beauty. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Better in 2017.
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