Bordeaux Red Blends from Chile, South America
The 2003 Sena reflects the best of the Aconcagua Valley. Fruit-forward and lush, it is full of blueberry, blackberry, cherry, and licorice aromas balanced by smoky notes and vanilla from its French oak aging. The mouth-feel is soft and luxurious, full of sweet ripe tannins and a finish that lingers long on the palate. This wine is delightful today, but will improve in the bottle over the next ten years for even greater pleasure in the future.
Food pairings: Roasts, grilled meats, game, duck, beef.
"In contrast to the 2002, the 2003 Sena is more primary and more complete. It is purple-colored with an expressive array of pain grille, clove, espresso, earth, black currants, and blackberry. This is followed by a wine which admirably combines power and elegance. There are layers of sweet fruit, and the oak, tannin, and acidity are nicely integrated. Cellar this superior effort for another 4-6 years and drink it through 2030.
Sena was originally a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Eduardo Chadwick. The first vintage was in 1995 and in 1999 the Sena Hillside Vineyard was purchased. Currently, all the grapes going into Sena come from this biodynamically farmed vineyard. It is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, and Cabernet Franc. In a typical vintage Sena is about three-fourths Cabernet Sauvignon although in 2003, Cabernet Sauvignon composed 52% of the blend and Merlot 40%. The wine is aged for 18 months in predominantly new French oak."
Wine & Spirits - "This blend, based on cabernet sauvignon and merlot, has a gentle richness built on strawberry marmalade aromas and deep, juicy ripe cherry and blueberry flavors, all integrated by mellow acidity and soft tannins. Time will add more complexity."
In 1995, Robert Mondavi and Eduardo Chadwick pioneered one of Chile's first international joint ventures, a bold and forward-thinking move in those times. They set a very challenging goal: to reach the full potential of Chile's wine country and to create a truly world-class wine. These two are distinguished traditional wine families shared the passion for excellence and innovation. Sharing their dream and dedication, in 1997 they released the first vintage of Sena (1995), one of Chile's first iconic wines, marking a milestone and initiating the path for making ultra-premium wines in Chile. Eduardo Chadwick searched alongside Robert Mondavi for four years before finding the ideal terroir in Chile's Valle de Aconcagua. Sena, the Chilean Bordeax-blend, is the culmination of their vision, an expression of consummate quality and character. View all Sena Wines
About ChileView a map of Chile wineries (CHEE-lay)Long and thin, Chile has a lot of land north to south. The wine region here is a series of districts based near Santiago. The vineyards are protected by the Pacific on the west and the Andes mountains on the east. This could help explain why the climate changes more from east to west than north to south – also why the country has remained phylloxera free. Quite a few wineries in Chile were founded by large French wine companies. Seeing the potential of the country, vineyards were bought and planted by these French folks and the results tell of a smart investment. Some of these wineries include: Los Vascos, Casa Lapostolle and Cousino Macul. And while the inspiration may have been French, but the wines here are quite Chilean.
Photo of the sun break following morning fog over the vineyards of Veramonte Winery (located in the Casablanca Valley)
Notable FactsThe main regions of Chile include Maipo (pronounced MY-poh), known for reds like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere; Casablanca Valley, a region producing delicious Sauvignon Blanc, as well as other whites & some reds; Colchaugua, an inland district creating amazing red wines from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in the Apalta sub-region; and Rapel Valley, settled right under Maipo and producing the same red varietals. A couple of smaller regions to watch include Limari and Elqui, two valleys further north, producing some delicious cool-climate Chardonnay and Bio Bio, an area further south, which is also focused on cool-climate varieties. Chilean wines are growing in exports and more consumers are enjoying the delicious values coming from the country. Red wines of the region, though they cannot be generalized, make the whole gamut of wine quality – quaffable to collectible. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Carmenere are the main players, though Syrah is also making a splash. Some of the best reds are blends of the above varieties. As for whites, Sauvignon Blanc is typically crisp, herbal and racy, while Chardonnay is richer in style with full-bodied texture and tropical fruit flavors.
About South AmericaRelated Links:
Young, organically farmed Carmenère at Chile's De Martino estate vineyard
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.