What makes Seña a masterpiece of New World winemaking

by Nov 19, 2020News0 comments

Eduardo Chadwick and Robert Mondavi: when passion for wine and two geniuses go together…

Eduardo Chadwick and Robert Mondavi: when passion for wine and two geniuses go together…

Dear reader,

This November, Alti Wine Exchange proudly launched three of the most exclusive vintages of the finest Chilean red blend: the 2007, 2008 and 2017 harvests of the one and only Seña – the co-creation of leading producer Eduardo Chadwick and his mentor, the legendary Napa vintner Robert Mondavi.

If you have never heard about Seña, don’t worry: we’re here for you.

This rare, divine red blend from the most prestigious winery has captivated the most famous wine writers, sommeliers and leading critics at the vertical Berlin Tastings, since 2004, and now is among the most sought-after South American and New World wines.

But what is it that makes Seña, our latest initial bottle offering (IBO), so special? Bear with me and let’s go.

I’m Breno, Alti Wine Exchange’s head of content, and here is the magic behind this unique red wine.


What makes Seña unique

In a South American country known for taking the best of traditionally “European” grapes and re-working them to make original, wonderful red wines, Seña thrives to merge the joint expertise of Eduardo Chadwick and Robert Mondavi, unique biodynamic farming, a Bordeaux-style blend with New World practices and a very particular story that enhances its Chilean soul.

Watch for yourself what our Chief Wine Officer, Julien Miquel, has to say about its tasting:


A one-of-a-kind joint venture

In 1995, Robert Mondavi and Eduardo Chadwick pioneered an international joint venture with a very challenging goal: to reach the full potential of Chile as a true wine country and to create a world-class icon-level wine like no other in Chile.

Sharing their dream, efforts and dedication, in 1997 they released the first vintage of Seña (1995), Chile’s first icon wine. This marked a milestone and initiated the path for making ultra-premium wines in Chile.

They named it Seña, a sign to the world that Chile was able to produce world class-wines, expressing the uniqueness of the Aconcagua Valley.

Seña is a unique Bordeaux-style red blend with a very Chilean soul. Its predominant variety is Cabernet Sauvignon, while typical Carmenere unmistakingly ties it to Chile. Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot round out the blend.

Biodynamic farming and a unique terroir

Throughout the years, Seña became known for being deeply committed to authenticity, sustainability, and biodynamic farming. These holistic practices, the winery says, work with energies that create and maintain the natural cycle of life, giving rise to a wine with a true sense of place.

The benefits of the biodynamic practices implemented at Seña, such as the science and mystique of making biodynamic preparations and using compost to fertilize the vineyard, have helped strengthen the roots and life cycle of the vines, improving the plants’ ability to capture nutrients from the soil.

And, terroir enthusiasts, you won’t be disappointed. Located in the Aconcagua Valley, 40 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean, Seña’s 42-hectare hillside vineyard was planted in 1998 to key red Bordeaux varieties and Carmenere. The volcanic and colluvial soils on the valley’s slopes present a variety of textures and proportions of stone content, resulting in a great diversity of well-drained gravel and rocky soils with loam to clay-loam texture.

The Mediterranean weather in this valley ensures warm, dry summers, bright sunny days and cold, rainy winters that the vines love. Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the median temperatures are low, however, the vineyard’s position on the eastern side of the Coastal Mountains, facing away from the sea, protects the vines from the direct effect of the ocean’s strong, cold winds and creates cool-climate conditions, perfect for producing red grapes that reach an excellent level of maturity with balanced acidity that provide great elegance and finesse.

Berlin Tasting: a quest for true recognition

In 2004, inspired by the Judgment of Paris — which elevated Californian wines to the level of the best French wines —, Eduardo Chadwick invited Steven Spurrier to conduct a blind tasting in Berlin.

Europe’s most highly respected experts judged Seña and other top Chilean wines in the company of the finest Bordeaux and Super Tuscan wines of the millennium vintage, some of which had received 100 points from wine critic Robert Parker.

The results of this tasting surprised everyone and proved to be a true eye-opener. Two Chilean wines, Viñedo Chadwick 2000 and Seña 2001, came in first and second place ahead of the best wines of the world. This revolutionary event, now known as “The Berlin Tasting”, became a milestone for the Chilean wine industry and helped elevate the image of Chile as a world-class appellation.

This was also the starting point for a series of 21 similar tastings around the most important wine capitals of the world with remarkably consistent results on each occasion.


berlin vertical tastings sena.png


In a blind tasting format, Seña’s top vintages dating back to its origins were presented side by side with matching vintages of the world’s most famous wines, and the participants in all three cities—Hong Kong, Seoul, and Taipei—unfailingly placed Seña at the top of their preference lists.

In 2012, the Seña Vertical Tasting experience continued on to London, Zurich, and five major cities in China, where the consistently successful results constituted yet another milestone in the history of Chilean wine.

The fact that Seña unswervingly appeared at the top of the preference lists in every one of the 10 Vertical Tastings not only demonstrated its world-class quality, but also proved to the wine experts that Chilean wine does indeed age gracefully over time as well as, if not better than, the most revered wines on the planet.

After making Chilean wines renowned around the world – just like the Judgment of Paris in 1976 -, Eduardo Chadwick was elected “Man of the Year 2018” in the wine industry by Decanter magazine.

“I receive this award on behalf of Chile. It is a recognition that Chile has entered the realms of fine wine”, Chadwick stated.


How you can have world-class Seña for yourself

As you know, Alti Wine Exchange fills a gap in the alternative asset class, providing a place where producers, collectors and investors can buy and sell fine wines as if they were securities.

We only list the very best wines – which are highly restrictive in supply and capable of improving in quality in bottle. That is the case of marvelous Seña.

This is your unique opportunity to get some of the last legacy bottles straight from Viñedo Chadwick for such a special occasion: the 16th anniversary of the Berlin Tasting that marked forever the history of this remarkable red blend.


SEÑA 2007: Deeply ruby red in colour, Seña 2007 presents a nose rich in ripe fruits such as strawberries, plum, and cassis, along with a touch of black pepper and sweet spices that add complexity to the blend. The palate shows fine, warm tannins and complex but harmonious flavours of fruit, oak, spices, thyme, bay leaf, meaty notes and a bit of tobacco, extending out onto the long finish. A Chilean wine with lively acidity and great tannic structure that will certainly gain complexity and elegance with time in the bottle.

SEÑA 2008 (MAGNUM): A dark ruby red colour with violet highlights. Intense on the nose, with abundant fresh red and black fruit evoking raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. The red fruit stands out on the palate, nicely accompanied by clove and nutmeg, with a subtle note of cedar. Combined to its silky tannins, Seña 2008 is an elegant, complex wine, refreshing with outstanding structure and fine balance, which denotes an extraordinary cellaring potential. Plus: in a marvelous Magnum bottle.

SEÑA 2017: Hot and sunny days marked the 2017 season in the estate that produces this fantastic red blend. Nevertheless, thanks to its privileged coastal location in the Aconcagua Valley – only 40 kilometers away from the Pacific Ocean -, the cool breezes that blow in moderated the temperatures. This combination of factors allowed Seña 2017 to reach perfect ripeness with a unique balance between concentration and power alongside tension, elegance and freshness.



Explore More from Our Blog

Would you bring your child to a winery?

DEAR READER, What a pleasure to be back! I admit it: these mailbags are now my favorite point of the week. Even during the contentious back-and-forth, I always enjoy opening my inbox to see words from you all. “Kind” ones, sometimes—but as you know from last week—I...

Our Sommeliers suggested wine

DEAR READER, I must be honest—I expected many more well wishes after posting that old journal entry. Everyone is modest when they say they don’t want well wishes, and so I expected there would be a few of you who saw through my “plea for privacy”. But, I forgive and I...

Because Life Needs Good and Evil

Black and white. Chaos and order. Sinner. Sinless. Life is a constant search for the happy medium, the yin and the yang. It’s as renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson explains, “Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because...

Thank you, Lehman Brothers?

On this day, 13 years ago, the world broke out in a panic when Lehman Brothers filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy. Still the largest bankruptcy filing in US history, it was the climax of the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Subprime mortgages were to blame, lending money to...

Beer vs Wine, a timeless debate…

DEAR READER, Blah blah blah let’s get right to it! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, You’ve dropped some hints that you look down on beer. Why is this, Sommelier Ferdinand? You have a growing fanbase—surely, you’re aware the effect that your insults have? And before you...

What would you do if you found an expensive wine in a cellar?

DEAR READER, Never in my life have I been happier to pontificate about wine than at my computer desk. In person is stimulating, sure, but they always talk back at some point. My lovely readers, however, only speak when I like! This internet thing has utility!...

The Beginning and The End.

Alas, the sun has crossed the celestial equator from north to south. Summer is now quite uneasy, shifting into fall in the north, while life is springing into action down south. What a beautiful time of the year! When grapes are cut from the vine to create new wine,...

Ever heard of a wine cocktail?

DEAR READER, I hope some of you learned from the reader letter last week [hyperlink to Week Ten post] and checked your attics! You never know how much wine sits above you, waiting to be uncorked and decanted—on someone else’s dime! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, I have a...

The Future of Wine

We humans are bold if nothing else. Unlike any other species (that we know of), only we have chosen time and again to go boldly where no other has gone before. This holds especially true to the modern European, the first to really “discover” ignorance. Though they...

Could Mozart Make Your Wine More Complex?

We usually do three things when drinking wine: look at it, smell it and taste it. We activate three of our five senses to understand what’s going on in the glass. I propose we go further by incorporating sound and touch. Surely what we’re listening to while...

What on earth is a ‘Wine Decanter’?

DEAR READER, It’s come to my attention that many of you are ill-informed, misinformed, and frankly, uninformed about how wine is to be consumed. Were I only a wine enthusiast, it would be wholly dispiriting. But—wine is my profession, and I’m obligated to recognize...

“What’s My Next Question?” – Benjamin Kaplan

What’s My Next Question? On a random day like today 11 years ago, a legendary Harvard Law professor and lawyer, Benjamin Kaplan, died at 99 years of age. A rich, marked life that left an impact long after his last breathe. Apart from influencing the likes of Ruth...