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 doe 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 become 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, earthly, characters with age. It is matured in an assortment of old large vats that allows 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.
Deep inky blood-red
The veil long clasped by St Henri is aromatically lifted. A 2018 St Henri cork is extracted revealing:
Clinically: The elution of flinty pencil and cordite.
Appetisingly: Warmed black olive - mustardy spiced wild rocket, haloumi.
Savoury: Scents of a Greek flat-leaf parsley, salad, eggplant, capers.
Exotically: Freshly sliced fig and cut-rhubarb laced with cinnamon, cola spice, Chinotto, dusted nuts.
Fruits (White plum, fresh fig and quandong) and charcuterie savouries abound. Fresh vibrant acidity abetted by the cut-rhubarb noted aromatically above, and liquorice root. Toasted pumpkin seed flavours, tannin-dry yet not puckering. Mount-watering, finely etched tannins 'mist up' the palate spectrum - a tactile fog! Oak - Where art thou?
Region: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Port Lincoln, Robe, Padthaway, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills
Grape Varieties: Shiraz
Wine Type: Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%