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. 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 as it ages. It is matured in old, large oak 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.
|Winemaker||The Penfolds Team|
|98 points||Andrew Calliard|
|95 points||Huon Hooke|
|95 points||Campbell Mattinson|
Medium deep colour. Lovely fragrant claret style wine with exuberant fresh red cherry redcurrant, mulberry cassis aromas and roasted walnut complexity. Well concentrated and generous with inky cassis mulberry fruits, smooth velvety tannins, attractive viscosity and richness on the mid-palate and fine integrated acidity. Finishes powdery firm with superb mineral length. A hugely evocative wine; true to the original blueprint, spirit of style and the classic Penfolds multi-regional template. Delicious to drink now but should age beautifully.
Very deep, brooding red/purple colour, with a bouquet of ironstone, earth, smoke and bloody, sanguine overtones. It's youthful, bold and bright; fruit drives the wine, and it's almost lean it's so elegant; very long and refined on the follow-through, with very soft, fine-grained tannins throughout the palate. The tannins have an oaky taste but it's said not to see any small oak. This is all about finesse. Lovely wine.
"Immediately we see blueberries, we see violets, we see plums, we see a long, elegant finish. There’s no ra-ra here, it’s all composure and calm. You can see this singing for a good long time. The tannin here feels teased; almost sinewy; it will hold the wine in good stead. It was/is an anticipated release and it hasn’t missed the boat."
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.
Home to the oldest vines in the country, and no less than 18 wine growing regions, South Australia accounts for almost 50% of Australia’s wine production. The Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Coonawarra are well known for their world class reds, with Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley and Eden Valley praised for their exceptional Chardonnay and Riesling.
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 otherwarmer 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.
Key to the success of Penfolds has been a lineage of visionary winemakers. There have only ever been four Chief Winemakers at the helm of Penfolds – Max Schubert, Don Ditter, John Duval and Peter Gago, each a custodian of a rich winemaking tradition that goes back for more than 170 years.
Our current Penfolds winemaking team has more than 100 years between them as Penfolds winemakers. They are constantly refining and improving their work, whilst honouring the winemaking techniques of their predecessors.
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