Origin: McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley / South Australia / Australia
Grapes: 96% Shiraz / 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
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 1950's (first commercial vintage 1957), it gained a new lease of life in the 1990's 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, 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.
The St Henri Shiraz is often one of my favorite reds in the Penfolds Collection, due to the ability of the fruit to shine through the fine sheath of oak that encases it. At this stage, and I know you will hear this often, the wine still represents good value. The 2019 St Henri Shiraz is elegantly structured, with the 2019 vintage showing the warmth and intensity without overstepping balance or line. Texturally, this will only increase in its silky shape, which comes with the gentle suggestion to decant this if you insist on drinking it within five years from harvest (i.e., anytime from now to 2024). This 2019 is shaped by abundant red and purple fruit (and a splash of blue), charry spice and fine tannins. Gorgeous. 96+pts, Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate