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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.
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.
Now - 2044. Drinking well now, but will improve with time.
Lifted, racy. Rhône-ish at first, South Australian upon sitting.
Bountiful aromatics ascend – initially redcurrant, cranberry, Christmas cake mix, and then the liberation of citrus (lime peel), fennel and olive.
Middle Eastern spices also present – sweet, not savoury (incl. cinnamon, nutmeg). And, not unexpected, something not present - oak!
Svelte. Nevertheless, propels assertive tannins that build – sheeted/layered in configuration.
To please all tastes - the sweet – zabaglione, custard, raw chocolate (cocoa); and the savoury – (bone) marrow, star anise.
Lingers, and certainly leaves a most appealing ‘residual’ impression for quite some time after ingestion.
“Another vintage that classically reaffirms St Henri DNA – it is not a Bin, nor RWT nor Grange-like. A unique shiraz proposition that harks back to the late-1800’s. Quality that doesn’t date.”
“Recommend to decant this vintage – no ifs or buts! It will maketh the wine and reward your effort.”
Origin: Multi-regional blend, South Australia. Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, Southern Fleurieu, Wrattonbully and McLaren Vale.
Maturation: 12 months in 50 + y.o. large oak vats.
Variety: 96% Shiraz, 4% Cabernet.
Above-average winter and early spring rainfall offered the vines in South Australia healthy soil moisture profiles for the growing season. Late spring and summer were dry and warm with significant heat records being set. Warm weather prevailed during summer and throughout veraison, allowing grapes to develop evenly and with good intensity.
The warm conditions came to an abrupt halt in mid-February with significant rainfall that allowed for a long and slow ripening of the fruit in very good conditions. This ensured balanced flavour development, fruit exhibiting a brightness endowed with crisp acid retention and impressive fruit quality.
First vintaged in 1953. 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.
The Penfolds Collection