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.
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, 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.
“Fulfils all 2008 vintage expectations! Fulfils all expectations of St Henri. A confident and content St Henri release.”
“It is the palate that will primarily attest to this wine’s worth—both at release... and more than likely in a half-century or so!”
“Aligns well with the benchmark 1998 St Henri vintage — by whatever measure—fruit, concentration, weight.”
PETER GAGO, PENFOLDS CHIEF WINEMAKER
- SA - Other South Australian
- South Australia
Deep magenta, purple hue; a saturated black fruit wine lies in waiting with a veritable cornucopia of spice and liqueur soaked plums; the ample fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity provide light to the fruit shade; long, sweet-fruited and generous. Shiraz. Rating 94 - Drink by 2024 - Ben Edwards, Wine Companion (JAN/2012)
If I were forced to make a list of my Top Ten Australian Wines, then you’d find St Henri near the top. It goes into my cellar and down my neck fairly regularly, though perhaps not as often as I’d like.
Chocolate, sage, pepper, mint and lamb, mixed berries – mainly dark – and is that a suggestion of vanilla? It’s full bodied, but not heavy, just plump and round with grainy tannin offering a little grit and grip, though ‘cocoa-like’ may be the best description. Salty beef jerky flavours are of some concern and the wine tastes quite Langhorny on the whole, as a comment, rather than a criticism. Yes, I like it a lot, though I’d most likely not buy it – it feels atypical for the marque. Gary Walsh 93 points Drink 2018-2028+:
91% Shiraz 9% Cabernet. 15 months in old large 1460L vats. Deep, bright colour. Rich perfume of red berries, mocha, white pepper, ferns and olive tapenade. In the mouth a warm, richly flavoured red of concentration showing sticky red and black berry fruits with a long burr of oak reminiscent of sandalwood shavings. Some curranty complexity and lifted spice; a lick of briny acidity. Smooth and supple, fine, luscious and lengthy. Very elegant wine, not an ‘old school’ St Henri. Surprising verve for vintage. Drink in relative youth. Mike Bennie: 93 points 2012-2027
Winery Tasting Notes
Bright crimson rim, dense purple colour.
Anticipated praline/milk chocolate St Henri aromatic markers, replete with fruits —mulberry and boysenberry. Compliments of the vintage freshly squeezed beetroot/ginger juice and dried spices—bay leaf and sage. Large old vat-matured Shiraz—varietally and convincingly announced by way of a cold lamb/rosemary/marrow disposition.
Plush, fleshy and mouth filling—showcasing a cleverly woven texture and deceptive (fruit) weight. Nectarine and blood plum fruits courted by the largesse of big, ripe and round tannins. Maturation precursors already awoken, although yet to ascend/unfurl—fresh wallet leather, pan scrapings, ... Long and persistent. Polished.
Roast rack and slow cooked breast of lamb, gubinge, celery and sea parsley.