Chilean Corker

Wine­maker Eduardo Chad­wick talks of grape va­ri­eties, bio­dy­nam­ics and his renowned red, Seña, with Chloe Street

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

hilean wines have been making waves around the world, with Seña at the head of the pack. When Eduardo Chad­wick, owner of Chile’s Er­rázuriz es­tate, joined forces with Napa Val­ley wine­maker Robert Mon­davi to cre­ate Seña in the 1990s, their in­ten­tion was to cre­ate the first icon of Chilean wine­mak­ing—a goal that has cer­tainly been achieved. Seña is a world-class red that now com­fort­ably sits along­side the premier crus and Su­per Tus­cans, and con­sis­tently tops the crit­ics’ scores of Chilean wines. Chad­wick was re­cently in Hong Kong for the Great Wines of the World event—a three-day wine tast­ing ex­trav­a­ganza or­gan­ised by Hong Kong Tatler and James­suck­ held in the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel—and hosted an ex­clu­sive din­ner show­cas­ing Seña, which is named af­ter the Span­ish word for dis­tin­guish­ing mark or per­sonal sig­na­ture. What was your in­ten­tion in cre­at­ing Seña? I wanted to pro­duce a pre­mium wine akin to the top wines in Italy, the Su­per Tus­cans. I be­came friends with Bob Mon­davi when he vis­ited our vine­yard and we cre­ated Seña to­gether. This was re­garded as the first icon wine of Chile and was the first wine to start po­si­tion­ing the coun­try at the top of the in­dus­try. Mon­davi’s Opus One did it for the Napa Val­ley and Seña had a sim­i­lar ob­jec­tive: to high­light to the world that Chile could pro­duce a wine at the grand cru level.

What is the recipe for an iconic wine? You need the right ter­roir and you need the right wine­mak­ing phi­los­o­phy. Seña is a Chilean Bordeaux blend with a back­bone of caber­net sauvi­gnon, and then caber­net franc, mer­lot, pe­tit ver­dot and mal­bec, plus the uniquely Chilean car­ménère.

The Chi­nese have a taste for Bordeaux. Has this helped you? Yes. The Chi­nese started drink­ing Bordeaux wines and now they also love this Chilean Bordeaux blend. The car­ménère makes our wine very unique—very spicy. Chile is per­fect for grow­ing car­ménère be­cause we have beau­ti­ful, long sum­mers, so we can ripen our grapes to full ma­tu­rity.

How do you pro­mote Seña world­wide? We’ve done many blind tast­ings along­side the top wines of France and Italy, and of­ten come in first. There was a fa­mous blind tast­ing in Berlin where Seña and Viñedo Chad­wick, an­other of our wines, came tops, ahead of Lafite, Mar­gaux and La­tour. The vin­tage was even rated 100 points by the renowned critic Robert Parker.

What was the best year for Seña? Seña 2013, the cur­rent vin­tage, was awarded 99 points by James Suck­ling. Our 2012 vin­tage also got 98 points, which is also very high, but it de­pends on per­sonal taste.

Do you use any spe­cial tech­niques to make your wine? Yes. We farm us­ing bio­dy­namic prin­ci­ples. We do ev­ery­thing in a nat­u­ral way, us­ing only the el­e­ments in the vine­yard al­ready—no pes­ti­cides, no chem­i­cals and no fer­tilis­ers. That has been key to giv­ing Seña great en­ergy. Very few prop­er­ties in Chile do this be­cause it de­mands a lot of care and at­ten­tion.

What’s the fu­ture for Seña? We have to con­vince the world Chile is able to pro­duce a wine that can com­pete with the best on the planet. We have con­vinced the crit­ics, but now we have to reach the con­sumers and change their per­cep­tion that a Chilean wine should cost less than £10. This will take time and is a process of ed­u­ca­tion.

What’s the most mem­o­rable glass of wine you’ve had? I love Mar­gaux. For me, Mar­gaux 2010 is a wine I will al­ways re­mem­ber.

Should chil­dren be brought up drink­ing a lit­tle wine? Yes. I have four daugh­ters and have al­ways given them a lit­tle taste. Wine is a nat­u­ral bev­er­age and should be en­joyed in mod­er­a­tion.

grape heights

Eduardo Chad­wick with his prize-win­ning cre­ation, Seña

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