Sen is a Slovak wine made by Vladimir Magula, Elizabeth Gabay MW, and Ben Bernheim. Sen ('dream' in Slovak) is our dream come true!
Sen combines two terroirs, two grapes, two families into just 1,800 bottles a year.
Our goal was to prove to the world that rosé can be natural, can be dark, and can be made in a style that is a pleasure to drink on a cold winter's evening. We think Sen has succeeded in doing just that.
Sen 2020 was released in major markets in time for New Year 2022 - if you would like more information on availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
The grapes that we use for Sen come from two of Slovakia's finest terroirs: volcanic soils on the southern slopes of the Stiavnica mountain range, famous for its gold mines; and the loess that lines the Danube, on the foothills of the Little Carpathians.
Each of these two terroirs contribute differently to Sen.
The Frankovka is grown on loess, which drains particularly well, drawing the vines' roots into the ground. It is from the Magula family estate.
The Cabernet, grown on volcanic soils, comes from Slovakia's oldest certified organic vineyard, farmed by the Kušický family. We love how the vines are surrounded by wildflowers and insects throughout the spring and summer.
We chose a blend of 10% Frankovka (Kékfrankos, Blaufrankisch) and 90% Cabernet Sauvignon for Sen 2020. We're very happy with this combination of France and Central Europe!
The Frankovka contribrutes fresh cherry fruit, with the Cabernet providing violets and blue minerality. Both contribute structure and the fresh acidity of cool-climate Slovakia.
Sen 2021 will also contain a small amount of Pinot Noir from the Teufelstal hill, 500m from the Frankovka vineyard in Rose Valley.
Sen is a partnership between Vladimir Magula and his family, and the world's top rosé expert Elizabeth Gabay MW and her family, including son Ben Bernheim.
Vladimir and his parents run the family vineyard, reclaimed after the fall of communism.
We've loved the exchange of ideas between the families, and the learning experience for everyone involved.
The winemaking: six barrels
Sen was fermented and aged in six bordelais barrels, each with its own personality and contribution to the blend. They were all previously used for a few years before meeting Sen.
We made one barrel of Frankovka and five barrels of Cabernet.
We wanted to avoid new oak aromatics, instead using 2-4 year old oak for structure and to allow the wine to breathe and age elegantly.
After crushing and destemming, the juice macerated on the skins for 14-24 hours (depending on the barrel). This allowed the juice to leach gentle tannin, weightiness and aromatics from the skins, without excessive extraction or losing its freshness. Fermentation was through indigeneous yeast, with no temperature control.
Following 11 months in barrel, the wine was blended in stainless steel, and left for a month before bottling.
The guiding philosophy was one of minimal intervention - taking away and adding as little as possible - in order to allow the grapes and terroir to express themselves without interference from yeast or heavy-handed winemaking. The result is a living, breathing wine with real character and endearing imperfections.
Where you can find Sen
Sen is distributed in the UK through BasketPressWines.
What the critics say
"Banging."Mike Boyne of BinTwo in Padstow. Full review here.
"Sensational [...] bright and crunchy with lovely herbaceous, savoury notes."Kate Hawkings.