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 Shiraz.
- SA - Other South Australian
- South Australia
There is a warmth of fruit in the '09 St Henri that offers plush mulberry, spice, blackberry confiture and tar on the bouquet; the palate is generous on entry, warm and inviting, with a lively backbone of acidity cleaning up the tail of fine-grained tannins and charry oak flavours. Not destined for the longest life of a St Henri, but long enough. Rating 93 - Drink to 2025 - Ben Edwards, Wine Companion (JAN/2013
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2009 St Henri Shiraz is slated for release on May 1, 2013. It is a little closed at the moment though reveals earthy aromas of warm berries, some mulberries and Chinese dried plums over notes of meat, black olive, coffee and tree bark. Richly concentrated and complex with layered, savory flavors, it is structured by firm, grainy tannins and is finishing long. It needs time to develop further. Drink it from 2015 to 2025+. Rating 93+ Drink to 2025 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (FEB/2013)
Winery Tasting Notes
Cherry red with a magenta rim.
Initially exudes giveaway St Henri cues—praline, fruit pastille, red licorice, violet…
Yet there are other aromas linked to variety/vineyard(s)/vintage—initially, Shiraz spices incl. cinnamon, nutmeg.
Then a spray of kirsch, campari, bitters, cranberry and radish.
With air, time these combine and transform to create a wine that can only be Shiraz, that can only be Penfolds,
that can only be… St Henri.
Compact and restrained. A medium-bodied wine, offering lightness/silkiness/softness/elegance… albeit in a relative sense, alongside its oaked-indulged Penfolds Shiraz siblings.
Granular tannins and acidity contentedly usher an admirable textural demeanour across the front, middle and back-palate spectrum.
Cold lamb and white chocolate flavours wrestle good-naturedly with fruits (sour cherry, raspberry and wild strawberry).