St Henri Shiraz 2017 750mL cork bottle

The Penfolds Collection

St Henri Shiraz 2017

St Henri is a time-honoured and alternative expression of shiraz, and an intriguing counterpoint to Grange. It is unusual amongst high quality Australian red wines as it does not rely on any new oak. 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. 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 with age. It is matured in an assortment of old large vats that allow the wine to develop, imparting minimal, if any oak character. Although a small proportion of cabernet may sneak into the blend, the focal point for St Henri remains shiraz.

When To Drink

2022 - 2052. Drinking well now, but will improve with time.

Taste Description

Colour
Deep plum red

Nose
Savoury notes first detected, yet quickly courted by generous cherry liqueur/chocolate aromas.
Scents of dried beef sit alongside a textbook garrigue deconstruction – dried herb/oregano/thyme/lavender.
Perplexingly, an exotic emission continues – best guess – copha, cranberry and activated walnut!
Shiraz unplugged… oak or artefact not part of this wine’s demeanour. Smells like? St Henri.


Palate
A masterclass of texture: plush, glossy, seamless – abetted by silky, polished tannins. One taster quipped: “millennial tannins”!
Black olive; coffee and mocha flavours abound, as do the generous shiraz fruits sourced from the northern viticultural reaches of South Australia.
Medium-bodied, with a great core and lovely framework – yet what is sipped fills the mouth so effortlessly.
A succulence is immediately noted – a fruited pomegranate/cranberry/quince paste-induced acidity, balanced with fruit sweetness.
Not trying too hard. St Henri rarely does.


Scores

98 Points Tony Love

96 Points - Huon Hooke

96 Points - David Sly, Decanter Magazine

95 Points - Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com

95 Points - Andrew Caillard MW

18+/20 Points - Matthew Jukes

94 Points - Ken Gargett, The World of Fine Wine Magazine

Winemaker Quotes

“Ever so stylish, proportioned. In marked contrast to last year’s impressive 2016 release ... quite possibly this 2017 bottling is more ‘St Henri’?!”

 - Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker
Technical Information

Origin: Multi-regional blend, South Australia. From Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Eden Valley, Port Lincoln.

Maturation: 12 months in 50+ y.o. vats

Wine Analysis: Alc/Vol: 14.5%, Acidity: 6.6 g/L, pH: 3.63

Variety: 97% Shiraz, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage Conditions

South Australia’s wine regions experienced a cool and mostly wet winter and spring, which provided the vines with plentiful soil moisture profiles. Longstanding rainfall records were broken across South Australia, with some regions experiencing minor flooding. The dams in Eden Valley were full by the end of winter. October was windy, which challenged fruit-set, however winds warded off any potential frost events in the Barossa Valley vineyards. Cool conditions extended the growing season, with flowering and veraison both later than expected. No heatwaves were recorded during summer and only a handful of days surpassed 40°C. Warmer weather in March was welcomed, allowing grapes to finish ripening, develop deep colour and varietal character. Harvest for shiraz grapes commence mid-March, a month later than the previous year.

History

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.

"Ever so stylish, proportioned.
In marked contrast to last year’s
impressive 2016 release ... quite
possibly this 2017 bottling
is more ‘St Henri’?!”

Peter Gago

Penfolds Chief Winemaker

Top