Stuart George

Seña and sensibility

In Tastings on September 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

On Wednesday 15 September I went to the Autumn Portfolio Tasting of New Generation Wines, an affable bunch with some nice wines on their books – Schiopetto, for example.

The tasting was held in The Red Room of Les Ambassadeurs Club , just off the Hyde Park Corner end of Park Lane. “Les A” is supposedly the “most exclusive” gambling haunt in London, with a long history of catering to high rollers. The Red Room looked to me like one of those places that the vulgar rich enjoy – lots of mirrors (of course), hushed lighting, big sofas, gaudy decor and overpriced drinks. My former ladyfriend Alla – a stunning and thoroughly amoral creature from Moscow – would love it.

Aged Chilean wines are almost as rare as rich Russians with good taste. But New Generation had assembled a five-vintage vertical of Seña, the “icon” wine initiated by Viña Errázuriz and Robert Mondavi in the 1990s.

Seña 2000 was tasted from magnum. It was cedary and fleshy, though still rather taut on the finish. Good wine.

The 2001 was sweeter and richer – clearly a much warmer year – with more tannin to lose. But another good wine.

There was a change of pace with the 2002. It was much tougher, with tannins as rasping as a cough. But even those felt tender compared to the 2006 and 2007, which were very much in Chilean wine’s modernist style, all creamy oak flavours and scorching tannins to appeal to the US palate.

Will the recent vintages age as well as the 2000? I dunno. But I do know that Seña is an expensive wine – £39.80 ex-vat from New Generation.

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