Clearly, time stopped in its bottle until the enclosure was finally twisted and removed. The vibrant ruby body flowed with ease with a hue decorated with a tinge of garnet. This was Sena 2004 and the last vintage that involved legendary winemaker, Robert Mondavi. But we were not there to celebrate 2004, but to witness the presentation of Sena 2014 in Singapore. An event taking place close to nine months after Hong Kong and South Korea.

Almost in Schrödinger fashion, one cannot tell if the 2004 wine was aged simply by peering at the glasses. The first impression on the nose was of dried berries notes and juicy mouthfeel. But what followed was a seductive yet complex blend of dried leaves, cigar notes and pencil shaving. Then a delightful pleasure on the tongue with its smooth plush texture balanced with fresh vibrant acidity. Although the fruit flavours appeared dried on the finishing, it is nonetheless a wine meant for this moment. I would be hard-pressed to find reasons to delay indulgence.
Sena, along with many other great Chilean made Bordeaux-blend wines, is another great example of Chile affinity to great winemaking. Despite so, the country wine industry continues to suffer an unfortunate reputation of being a cheap wine region.  In part due to low willingness to spend on beverages at weddings and corporate events, there is always a demand for low-priced wine. In Chilean wine sense, Sena is anything but cheap. The 2014 vintage is going for S$200.

In the September that preceded 2014 vintage, a spring frost hit. Whatever was left, survived and thrived well enough to go into the bottles. Made from a blend of 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 16 percent Carmenere, 11 percent Malbec, and the rest from Merlot and Petit Verdot. The wine carried an intense radiant purple with aromas of fresh blackberries, light eucalyptus and touch of minty note. And the sweet velvety tannins and energetic acid that tugged on the palate were evidence of its liveliness despite the adversity.
At the same dinner, the 2009 vintage poured still retained aromas of crushed wild berries and sweet forest floor. The palate was juicy, balanced by both firm tannins and fresh acidity. Although Sena’s commercial team considered the 2009 vintage close to perfect, I have no doubt that the “challenged” Sena 2014 will age just as well. Then again, only time will tell.

On a totally separate note, Daisuke Kawai from La Terre will be pouring a vertical series of Sena wines from vintages of 1999, and 2009 to 2014. As La Terre has limited seats, best to call 6532 1031 to reserve seats. And no, Daisuke is not paying me to do this. He’s a nice chap, and good chaps help nice chaps.


About the author

Picture of Chan Wai Xin

Chan Wai Xin

Singapore based. University lecturer, wine educator, wine writer. Systematic, analytic, and at times pedantic. Mostly irreverent.

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