Penfolds St Henri is a great Australian red with a unique stature, emblematic story and enduring quality. Steeped in South Australia's colonial heritage and inextricably linked to the development of Grange, St Henri offers an intriguing, alternative expression of Shiraz that is a sentimental favourite amongst collectors. Matthew Jukes (UK), Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (US) and Australia's Tony Love gave the wine outstanding reviews of 20 (out of 20), 97+, and 99 (both out of 100) respectively.
Made from 100% Shiraz, it is a full-bodied, richly concentrated wine with excellent length driven by waves of intense fruits, a well of unbridled fine tannins, and a wash of awakening acidity. Its fruit is multi-regional and hails from mainly the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.
As with all vintages of St Henri, its features are so striking, that they need no enhancement or highlighting with new oak – something that is rare amongst high quality Australian red wines. Instead, the fruit-driven Shiraz is propelled by skin and seed tannins alone and matured for 18 months in old, 1460 litre oak vats. Whilst maturation in large old oak allows an alternative textural experience, it certainly doesn't compromise longevity or stature.
First created in the 1950s, the inaugural commercial vintage was crafted in 1957 under the guidance of legendary Penfolds winemaker John Davoren, whose objective was to make 'a genuine claret style' wine that could be compared favourably with the greatest grand cru classé wines of Bordeaux. The development in the 1950s of Grange by Max Schubert and St Henri by John Davoren heralded a time of immense innovation at Penfolds. The success of Grange was very much enhanced by the contrasting St Henri style, and the two wines began life together in a climate of intense excitement, experimentation and research. Both were regarded as classic Penfolds wines and distinguished Australian reds within a decade of first release.
Although St Henri is now a Shiraz-dominant blend, the first trials were centred on Cabernet Sauvignon, Mataro and later Shiraz. By the 1970s St Henri was predominantly a Shiraz-Cabernet blend. The first vintages were reportedly foot-stomped in open-ended hogsheads, with a relatively high percentage of stalks retained in the vinification.
"A multi-regional, 100% knockout SA Shiraz that excites at every step..Stunning wine that will delight for decades."
Tony Love, News.com.au (AUS)
"For me, this is the finest young St. Henri I have ever tasted. It is phenomenal in every way."
Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com (UK)
"Very deep purple-black in color and showing an attractive nose of warm blackcurrants, blueberries and licorice with a complex undercurrent of mocha, cedar, menthol and grilled meat, the full-bodied 2010 St Henri Shiraz is relatively rich in the mouth, offering tons of fruit structured by firm, fine tannins and refreshing acid. It finishes with great persistence."
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (US), Issue #211