St Henri is a time-honoured and alternative expression of Shiraz, and an intriguing counterpoint to Grange. It is unusual among high quality Australian red wines as it does not rely on any new oak. Released for the first time by Penfolds in the early 1950s (first commercial vintage 1957), it gained a new lease of life in the 1990s as its quality and distinctive style became better understood. Proudly, a wine style that hasn’t succumbed to the dictates of fashion or commerce. St Henri is rich and plush when young, gaining soft, earthy, mocha-like characters as it ages. It is matured in old, 1,460 litre vats that allow the wine to develop, imparting minimal, if any oak character. Although a small proportion of Cabernet is sometimes used to improve structure, the
focal point for St Henri remains Shiraz.
- SA - Barossa
- South Australia
Has a whisk of 3% cabernet to accompany the shiraz, the grapes from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Robe and the Clare Valley. In the manner of all St Henris, matured for 13 months in 50yo oak vats (1460l). This is an exercise on a chequer board of savoury/smoky black fruits with firm, but polished, tannins. A great St Henri that will come into its own in a bare minimum of 10 years, and live long thereafter.
Rated 96 by James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion. (Sept/2015)
Winery Tasting Notes
Deep crimson red
At once Penfolds, at once and reassuringly an authentic, warmingly ‘old-style’ St Henri.
A radiant ‘redness’ – an orb of red-currants, red liquorice and rhubarb.
Earthy, gamey – cured meats, glazed ham, cold pan juices…scents charmingly emitted.
Solid. Aromatics conveyed/shared to palate – juniper, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry herbs.White milk chocolate, mocha and praline St Henri markers tussled to the fore. Integrated, fine and delicate.