2019 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz - South Australia
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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. 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.
Plum red with a crimson rim. Such promise! The first impression is unabashedly St Henri. A charming shiraz, always an outlier among its peers. Here you will find no new oak influence, none required, the very essence of shiraz gently matured in large, seasoned vats. Close examination calls for a wine glass of generous proportions. Swirl, allow the aromatics to emerge slowly, gently. The dark fruits are first to show their credentials...blackberries and mulberries generously adorned with fresh whipped cream. The crunchier red fruits appear next, pomegranate and cranberry. Exotic, enticing. There is a suggestion of mild paprika. A hint of liquorice, toasted fennel seed, dried mint. Meaty aromas, Greek lamb rubbed with olive oil, oregano and sea salt twirling on the rotisserie. From the charcutier, savoury bresaola and prosciutto. Burnished vintage leather. Structural descriptors don’t usually lead the charge for St Henri, but they are certainly faithful to the 2019 vintage. A fine graphite core. The warmth and creaminess of Mexican sauce with the weight of wild game: venison loin, braised hare. Eventually sweet custard flavours emerge, smooth and textural. Portuguese tart! A suggestion of fine salinity aligns with mouth-watering acidity, cleansing. As always with St Henri, restrained, no need to be showy. The dark cacao tannins are so fine they could be spun from silk. Will age and evolve beautifully for decades.
"This can only ever be a stylistic expression of the shiraz variety, as sourcing from six SA districts eliminates regionality. (For the record, The Peninsulas is a defined GI region, this fruit coming from the outskirts of Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula.) The wine’s point of difference within the Penfolds range is that it has no new oak maturation and spends only 12 months in large format seasoned vats. The result is a sophisticated, dark, almost mysterious shiraz, a wine with secrets within that one suspects will reveal great joys over the next 20 to 30 years, as its forebears have proved for more than half a century. For now, in and around the black fruits there are flint, mushroom, licorice and roast meat notes. Plenty to unpack. A serious SA shiraz that remains a really enticing proposition."
98 Points - Tony Love - Wine Pilot
"Immediately spicy and complex, this has a rich blackberry and dark-plum nose, together with dark-chocolate and tarry, earthy elements. The palate has a very rich, fleshy feel with such ripe dark-plum, dark-chocolate, blackberry and mulberry flavors on offer. Generous, yet balanced. A South Australian blend of McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully and The Peninsulas. Drink or hold. Screw cap."
97 Points - Nick Stock - James Suckling
2019 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz
Robert Parker Wine Advocate - 96+ Points
"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." Drink 2022-2042 Erin Larkin - 22 Jul 2022 Issue 261