Top Flight Chardonnay from Errazuriz’s Aconcagua Costa Estate – Tasting the Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2015…

In May 2018 I reviewed the delicious new 2017 Las Pizarras Chardonnay release, undoubtedly the most impressive Chardonnay I have ever tasted from Chile. This is a wine that redefines top flight Chardonnay quality from South America and joins a rarefied handful of wines including Catena’s White Stones and their White Bones cuvees from Argentina as stand out examples.

I recently got to taste the excellent 2015 Las Pizarras vintage again. Produced from vines grown on mostly Schist soils, this wine was aged for 9 months in French oak barrels and retains an incredibly restrained Burgundian expression. Indeed, it was this very wine that almost cracked the New World selection for the wines chosen to compete against Burgundy in the Great Blind Chardonnay Tasting 2018.

Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2015, Aconcagua Costa Valley, Chile

A crystalline bright straw canary yellow colour, the electricity is so evident in this superb wine. The nose is the most beguiling mix of liquid limestone, lime peel, lemon grass, wet slate and seductive orange blossom. Your palate is met with an incredible intensity, pithy citric lightning bolt that runs through your body. So delicious, fresh and pithy with the liquid minerality continuing to the finish. Just the right amount of complexing flinty struck match reduction guides you to a very happy place especially if you’re a Chardonnay connoisseur. A really incredible wine from Chile. Certainly a game changer. Drink now to 2030+

(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood

The Finest Chardonnay in Chile – Tasting the Profound Errazuriz Las Pizarras From Aconcagua Costa…

Chardonnay is a very tricky varietal category. In order to make a wine that will impress, it has to be capable of holding its own against the finest French examples from Burgundy and further afield like Limoux, the Jura and the Bouches du Rhone / Alpilles (think Trevallon Blanc).

But recently, I got the opportunity to taste not only the current release Las Pizarras 2015 Chardonnay, but also the fab 2016 and the future release 2017. As a Chardonnay / white Burgundy aficionado, I would be the first to express my scepticism at the claims that Chilean Chardonnay can be great or even profound. But tasting the Las Pizarras expression from Errazuriz really blew my mind and reset my regional compass for the potential of this varietal.

Errazuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2017, Aconcagua Costa, Chile

Wonderfully vibrant, taut and youthful with an incredible spring in its step, this wine is still embryonic but so expressive, focused and intense. Showing white citrus, green apple and honeydew melon exuberance but with a broody, schisty minerality lurking not far beneath. From a cooler vintage, this 2017 shows piercing acidity, incredible vibrancy and a pristine focus. A rasping dry mineral finish, this is a truly world class Chardonnay unlike anything made in Chile previously. A real eye opener. Drink from 2022 to 2035+

(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Celebrating Eduardo Chadwick Winning the 2018 Decanter Man of the Year With a Superb Retrospective Tasting in London – Part 1: Vina Sena Vertical…

2018 will surely go down in history as the year the Chilean wine industry was finally recognised for producing some incredibly profound fine wines, and certainly nobody within their industry has done more to establish the country’s reputation than Eduardo Chadwick from Vina Errazuriz.

One of the several events planned to mark Eduardo’s Decanter Man of the Year 2018 award was an exciting and rare Vina Sena and Vinedo Chadwick retrospective vertical tasting in London attended by top journalists and the who’s who of the European fine wine trade.

Patrick McGrath MW, head of UK importer Hatch Mansfield with Eduardo Chadwick and his daughter.

To give both these incredible tastings their due respect, I will feature the tasting notes of Vina Sena and Vinedo Chadwick in separate write-ups.

Journalist Oz Clarke in attendance

“What Eduardo Chadwick is proving now with his vertical tastings of Sena is that as his wines and similar vintages of Bordeaux age, his wines are still up there, judged equal, if not superior.” ~ Steven Spurrier, October 2013

“It is a terrific red in every regard and contends with the best of the world. All the same, there is so much more to Sena than sheer quality. Put simply, it comes down to two words: provenance and pedigree.” ~ James Suckling

Vina Sena Vertical 1997 to 2015

Vina Sena 1997, DO Valle de Aconcagua, 13.5 Abv.

84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Carmenere with 16 months ageing in 43% new French oak. Sweet meat, earthy, red currant and gamey depth, with impressive flesh, texture and mouthfeel. Palate shows hints of tomato purée, sweet macerated plums and stewed winter fruit compote. Pithy strawberry crunch, dry chalky minerality and lovely long tertiary length. Great power and concentration from a warm vintage.

(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Vina Sena 2000, DO Valle de Aconcagua, 14 Abv.

77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 6% Carmenere with 18 months ageing in 92% new French oak. A cooler more elegant vintage showing super supple tannins, a cool creamy texture and wonderful classical vibrancy and youthfulness. Ultra polished, super fine, intense, focused wine with great purity and finesse backed by Cabernet structure and power.

(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Vina Sena 2005, DO Valle de Aconcagua, 14.5 Abv.

57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 9% Carmenere, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot with 18 months ageing in 100% new French oak. Lush dense and overtly opulent, instantly obvious luxurious nose of sweet plum, creamy oak vanillins, sweet cassis and subtle liquorice stick. A really impressive expression that moves to a more profound level. Wonderful balance, fine chewy tannins, power, intensity and real muscle in wonderful tone and proportion. Wonderfully youthful.

(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Vina Sena 2009, DO Valle de Aconcagua, 14.5 Abv.

54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 16% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc with 22 months ageing in 100% new French oak. Dense, dark and broody, with a hint of polished oak, tomato leaf, saline cassis and a real piquant black berry intensity. A really youthful, plush and approachable wine, it certainly lacks no intensity and complexity. At almost 10 years old, it’s still a baby and shows great promise for the future.

(Wine Safari Score: 95/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Tim Mondavi and Eduardo Chadwick presenting a signed copy of the history of Vina Sena to a US sommelier.

Vina Sena 2011, DO Valle de Aconcagua, 14 Abv.

58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carmenere, 15% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc with 22 months ageing in 77% new French oak barrels. Another cool late season. Plush, dark opulent expression with exotic floral aromatics of chocolate orange, black berry and cherry liquor. The palate is supple, incredibly fresh, yet positively vital, showing beautifully fresh acids, fine detail, elegance, and impressive textural harmony. Pithy, black cherry and blueberry finish, this wine speaks of Sena’s very finest qualities. Lovely fine wine.

(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Sir Colin Hampden-White and Tim Mondavi

Vina Sena 2012, DO Valle de Aconcagua, 14 Abv.

52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Carmenere, 12% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot with 22 months ageing in 70% new French oak. A very warm vintage, this big opulent wine shows a dense, hedonistic weight and breadth. The first vintage including Malbec, the nose is spicy, lush, chocolately and full with a wonderful sappy blueberry edge. The palate is equally opulent and luxurious with the most creamy tannins, finely poised elegance and a very long, luxurious, harmonious finish. Youthful, intense, absolutely delicious!

(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Vina Sena 2013, DO Valle de Aconcagua, 14 Abv.

58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Carmenere, 12% Malbec, 10% Merlot 5% Petit Verdot with 22 months ageing in 75% new French oak. Taut, mineral and saline, this shows very shy, restrained aromatics. From a long cool vintage for the purist connoisseur. With crisp acids, sour cherry, tart Victoria plum, this is the classical style that is leading the way forward for Sena in the long run. Subtly with power, complexity with real focus and freshness. Wonderful restraint, beautifully self-assured style.

(Wine Safari Score: 96+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Vina Sena 2015, DO Valle de Aconcagua, 13.5 Abv.

57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 12% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc with 22 months ageing in 65% new oak barrique and 12% in new Stockinger foudre. Still so youthful and primary, the 2015 is an elevated, focused, ultra expressive wine. Hedonistic showmanship combined with introverted, introspective depth. Through the exotic blueberry, cassis and black cherry aromatics, the wine reveals an elegance and power with a bridled restraint, classism, and lower alcohol elegance. A real coming of age wine, this wine truly shows the potential of the Vina Sena site. Bravo Eduardo and winemaker Francisco Baettig.

(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

Errazuriz ~ Single Handedly Putting Chilean Fine Wine On The Global Map…

Vinedo Chadwick and Sena have been at the forefront of world class Chilean wine for over 20 years. Indeed I feel very privileged to have studied my Master of Wine with Errazuriz owner Eduardo Chadwick, starting back in 2003. A wonderful character, a great visionary, and highly ambitious ~ both for himself and his country, Chile. So it’s probably not surprising that the key estate brands in the Errazuriz portfolio have captured the world stage with fine wine quality never before seen out of Chile. 

Vina Chadwick, Sena and Don Maximiano (along with fellow industry high achievers Almaviva, Lapostolle Clos Apalta and Montes Alpha) have redefined the meaning of fine wine in the South American context. Congratulations Eduardo and of course group chief winemaker Francisco Baettig!

With Francisco Baettig at the UK launch of Vinedo Chadwick 2015 and Sena 2015.

Last year, Vinedo Chadwick was the first Chilean wine to crack a 100 point score when James Suckling rated the 2014 vintage. This year, it was the turn of Sena 2015 to reach this prestigious pinnacle of 100 points, with Vinedo Chadwick 2015 close behind on 99 points, both scores again  coming from critic James Suckling. 

The 2015 Sena is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Carmenere, 12% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, aged 22 months in 65% new French oak and 12% in foudre, with the remaining 23% aged in used oak barrels. 

Errazuriz Sena 2015, 13.5 Abv.

Always a personal favourite of mine within the Errazuriz premium range, the Sena 2015 is a beautifully elegant and utterly refined expression of a Bordeaux blend. The very alluring, pretty aromatics of red cherry stone fruits, mulberry, black currant and blue berry almost seem boundless, with notes of saline cassis, cherry bon bons, and salty red liquorice developing in the glass as the wine unfurls. The palate is as vibrant and pin point as the wine’s aromatics, revealing incredible intensity, mouth watering acidity freshness and super sweet tart red cherry and stick candy complexity. There is profound precision and focus, admirable balance, and the finest powdery, lacy red cherry pithy tannins on the generous finish. Winemaker Francisco has nailed this above average warm vintage with earlier picked, fragrant, fresh acidity grapes. This is a wine worthy of major accolades. Make space in your cellar!

(Wine Safari Score: 97/100 Greg Sherwood MW)