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."
Dramatic geographic and climatic changes from west to east make Chile an exciting frontier for wines of all styles. Chile’s entire western border is Pacific coastline, its center is composed of warm valleys and on its eastern border, are the soaring Andes Mountains.
Chile’s central valleys, sheltered by the costal ranges, and in some parts climbing the eastern slopes of the Andes, remain relatively warm and dry. The conditions are ideal for producing concentrated, full-bodied, aromatic reds rich in black and red fruits. The eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry—is home to intense red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.
Chilly breezes from the Antarctic Humboldt Current allow the coastal regions of Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley to focus on the cool climate loving varieties, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Chile’s Coquimbo region in the far north, containing the Elqui and Limari Valleys, historically focused solely on Pisco production. But here the minimal rainfall, intense sunlight and chilly ocean breezes allow success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata in the south make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Spanish settlers, Juan Jufre and Diego Garcia de Cáceres, most likely brought Vitis vinifera (Europe’s wine producing vine species) to the Central Valley of Chile sometime in the 1550s. One fun fact about Chile is that its natural geographical borders have allowed it to avoid phylloxera and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.