Penfolds St Henri Shiraz
Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 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.
Stone fruits and charcuterie savouries abound. Fresh acidity abetted by the cut-rhubarb noted aromatically above, and liquorice root. Toasted pumpkin seed flavours, tannin-dry yet not puckering. Mouth-watering, finely etched tannins ‘mist up’ the palate spectrum – a tactile fog!
Oak – where art thou?