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Sena 2003

Bordeaux Red Blends from Chile
  • RP93
  • W&S91
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

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 Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
W&S 91
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.
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Sena
Sena, Chile
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.
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One of South America’s most important wine-producing countries, Chile is a reliable source of both budget-friendly wines and premium bottlings. 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 some time in the 1550s. But Chile’s modern wine industry is largely the result of heavy investment from the 1990s.

Long and narrow, Chile is geographically isolated, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east and the Atacama desert to the north. These natural borders allowed Chile to avoid the disastrous phylloxera infestation in the late 1800s and as a result, vines are often planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted (as is the case in much of the wine producing world).

Chile’s vineyards vary widely in climate and soil type from north to south. The Coquimbo region in the far north contains the Elqui and Limari Valleys, where minimal rainfall and intense sunlight are offset by chilly breezes from the Humboldt Current. While historically focused solely on Pisco production, today this area finds success with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Aconcagua region contains the eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry and home to full-bodied red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot—as well as Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley, which focus on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Central Valley is home to the Maipo, Rapel, Curicó and Maule Valleys, which produce a wide variety of red and white wines. Maipo in particular is known for Carmenère, Chile’s unofficial signature grape. In the up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata make excellent Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

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Bordeaux Blends

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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, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

WAL472592_2003 Item# 92397