Penfolds St Henri is a highly successful 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. It was created in the early 1950s (first commercial vintage 1957) and gained a new lease of life in the 1990s as its quality and distinctive style became better understood.
St Henri is rich and plush when young, gaining soft, earthy, mocha-like characters as it ages. It is matured in old, 1460-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
"This 50th commercial release of St Henri continues to enhance its reputation as the alter-ego of Grange!"
"Built to age - needs time. Be patient - the churlish might imply that it's too early to call... However!"
Peter Gago - Penfolds Chief Winemaker
- SA - Other South Australian
- South Australia
Strong purple-crimson; has the focus, intensity and class expected of the '06 vintage; blackberry, blackcurrant and savoury spices are supported and complexed by firm, ripe tannins on the medium- to full-bodied, long palate. Shiraz. Rating 96 - Drink by 2031 - James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion (MAR/2010)
Blended of 89% Shiraz and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2006 St Henri Shiraz is a blend of 5 different South Australia sub-regions spanning from Robe to Clare Valley. Never seeing new oak, this vintage was aged 15 months in seasoned 1460 liter vats. Very deep garnet-purple colored, it has a purely fruited nose giving notes of intense cassis, crushed blackberries, some kirsch, black pepper, baking spices and cloves. Full, rich and concentrated, it’s still a bit taut with very crisp acid and firm finely textured tannins, giving a long berry laced finish. Consider drinking it from 2013 to 2025+.
With a lot of changes happening around the Foster’s Group, it is business as usual at Penfolds…which seems to operate within its own world. But this is no small world. The vineyard holdings here are vast and the connections with growers go back generations. Chief winemaker Peter Gago is the very well spoken front-man for the production team backed-up Kym Schroeter in charge of the whites and Steve Lienert crafting some very fine, consistent and sometimes inspired reds. If Champagne is all about the art of blending, then Penfolds is the Champagne of Australian wine. Those that think large companies producing wines that emphasize blending can’t make great wines need to think about the Champagne model or simply try some of Penfolds top wines to become believers. That said – check out their recent single vineyard release: the very special 2004 Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon, the first release of a wine made purely from this 100+ year old single block (perhaps the oldest block of Cabernet in the world?) since 1996.
Rating 95+ Drink 2013 -2025 - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (DEC/2010)
Winery Tasting Notes
Deep dark red.
Fragrant scents of praline and dark chocolate immediately conveyed, followed by blackberry, powdered violet & lavender (talc). Beneath, fresh green tobacco and lively spices, cold meats / pan juices fuse together.
The result: a youthful, benchmark St Henri aromatic package.
Medium-bodied and relatively 'elegant'. A palate stand-off / divide - Kirsch and dark fruits versus pomegranate / cranberry & dessicated Chinese plums. Cold meat flavours - corned beef or poached silverside?
Powdery savoury tannins... Polished.
2014 to 2032