Sena is not just one of the finest wines of Chile, it is one of the leading New World wines and is in the pantheon of great world wines, having famously beaten First Growths in blind tastings. Indeed, Sena 2017 is released at a 7% discount to 2016, priced at £498 per case of six, a strong move given recent trends in iconic wines. The 2017 has been awarded 96+ from Luis Gutierrez of The Wine Advocate potentially the highest ever. It has been awarded 99 points from James Suckling. This means that Sena 2017 has one of the lowest Price Over Points ratio (POP) of any vintage, which is a very good indication that it is correctly price on release. In 2017 it is a superb synthesis of power and complexity alongside balance and harmony, a must own Sena for lovers of this wine.
Sena embodies the Old World in the new, harnessing Chile’s incredible potential, encapsulated with a traditional Bordeaux style. It is generally more nuanced and elegant than for example Almaviva or Clos Apalta, explaining its performance in blind tastings, when pitted against the best of the First and Second Growths. This nuanced elegance is never more apparent than in the 2016, the year of El Nino, resulting in lower alcohol and fresher acidity. The upshot is a Sena with incredible purity and finesse. However, production is down significantly, a 25% reduced selection, in order to guarantee its promise. Sena 2017 is one for the ages, with a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec, 15% Carmenere,10% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot, the higher preponderance of Cabernet Franc and Carmenere reflects the strength of this variety in 2017. Sena has a very strong global market, it is the most recognised Chilean wine across Europe and one of the strongest New World brands in China.
In 2017, 67% of the wine was aged in French oak for 22 months, whilst the remainder matured in oak foudres, the voluminous vessels you will have seen in many a winery. The wine in said vessels adds a touch of classicism, while strongly influenced by Bordeaux’s excellence, it remains veritably Chilean. After all, 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 Judgement of Berlin. Since then the proprietor Eduardo Chadwick, Decanter’s Man of the Year in 2018, has triumphantly travelled the world pitting his wine against the world’s best in blind tastings and, as a result, Sena has earned a global cachet as being the leading Chilean Fine Wine.
The Judgement of Paris was organised by Steven Spurrier in 1976 to charge 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 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 becoming the personal project of Eduardo, who is realising his vision of creating an iconic wine that expresses the terroir 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 km 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. 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.
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