With age comes character.
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.
|Varietal||Syrah / Shiraz|
Dark brick-red core, crimson on rim.
A wine that immediately invokes interest – its nose endearingly captivating/enticing/intriguing. Fruits propelled from glass – black cherry, mulberry, blackcurrant, boysenberry … and more. A subliminal waft of star anise and savoury spices (not sweet) hover above. With air/decant a perfumed zabaglione / crème anglaise / eggnog ‘creaminess’ also ascends. At once, St Henri.
Instant delivery, demands attention. Engulfs palate ... ever so deftly. No intimidation. A pure-fruited retronasal continuum from the first sniff to the post-ingestion back-palate. No gaps – call it saturation or density/compaction sans ‘bigness’ – apportioned correctly. Red and dark-fruited, a compote of fresh prune and quince. 2016 + tempered shiraz + House Style + Penfolds = an assured St Henri collectable.
Autumn and winter were dry and cool across South Australia. Below long-term average rainfall continued throughout spring and all through summer. The climactic conditions slightly delayed the start of the growing season in the Barossa Valley and other warmer regions. However, budburst, flowering, veraison and harvest were all earlier than is usually expected of Coonawarra. Warm conditions prevailed in the early part of the summer allowing vines to develop healthy canopies and good bunch set. Some late rain in January and early February was a welcome relief. Temperatures in spring and summer were above the long-term average, resulting in an early harvest for shiraz. More than 80% of McLaren Vale had been harvested by mid-March. Cool February conditions in the Adelaide Hills ensured ripening was steady and the slightly early start to vintage was a result of a mild and dry growing season. Grapes across all the main growing regions were able to ripen evenly and develop desirable flavours.
“This is a much anticipated vintage for St. Henri, and it does not disappoint. The complexity of fruit here is stunning, together with a very complex and playfully fragrant, spicy edge with graphite, roasted coffee and woody spices, framing a core of very fresh blackberries, red and dark cherries and blueberries. So fresh and brimming with fruit aromas. The palate has a stunning array of deeply fleshy fruit flavors with a superb sense of length and powerful, ripe tannin, underpinning vibrant, fleshy fruit that is beautifully assembled in a refined, elegant and impressively pure mode. So long and pure. Silky and elegant. A real masterpiece, taking its place among the finest vintages like 2010, 1990 and 1971. 95% shiraz and 5% cabernet sauvignon. Drink over the next three decades."
- James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, August 2019
“The St. Henri cuvée is always brought up all in neutral oak casks, and the 2016 is a blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, with just 690 cases produced. This was a great vintage for South Australia, and this blockbuster sports a deep purple color as well as a dense, powerful, meaty bouquet of smoked black fruits, chocolate, bouquet garni, bay leaf, mint, and plenty of earthy minerality. Reminding me of an Hermitage from the likes of Delas Frères, it’s full-bodied and incredibly concentrated, with a stacked mid-palate and loads of ripe tannins. Backward and mostly potential at this point, it’s nevertheless a thrilling Shiraz readers should give 4-5 years of bottle age and it will knock your socks off over the coming two decades."
- Jeb Dunnuck, November 2019
"The 2016 St Henri Shiraz is one of the finest St Henris I've ever tasted, rivaling the likes of the 1986 or 1976. It's concentrated and rich, the essence of South Australia Shiraz (although it's been lightened by the addition of 5% Cabernet Sauvignon), unleavened by any new oak. Dark and tarry, it delivers notes of espresso and black olive, plummy fruit and roasted meat. Full-bodied and dense on the palate, it ends long, dark and savory.."
Joe Cerzinski, Robert Parkers Wine Advocate, August 2019
Peter joined the winemaking team in 1989, initially in the craftsmanship of sparkling wines, before moving on to reds as Penfolds Red Wine Maker. In 2002 Peter became the fourth ever Chief Winemaker for Penfolds. Together with his fellow winemakers, Peter’s careful custodianship has ensured that Grange and the other ‘older’ members of the Penfolds family, have continued to set the benchmark for their style and quality, while new additions to the range push the boundaries ever wider.