Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz, South Australia. 2013
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. It was created in the early 1950s (first commercial vintage 1957) and 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, mochalike characters as it ages. It is matured in old, 1460 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.
On the Nose- Initially exudes giveaway St Henri cues—praline, fruit pastille, red licorice, violet…
Yet there are other aromas linked to variety/ vineyard(s)/vintage—initially, Shiraz spices incl. cinnamon, nutmeg.
Then a spray of kirsch, campari, bitters, cranberry and radish.
With air, time these combine and transform to create a wine that can only be Shiraz, that can only be Penfolds, that can only be… St Henri.
On the palate- Compact and restrained. A medium-bodied wine, offering lightness/silkiness/softness/elegance… albeit in a relative sense, alongside its oaked-indulged Penfolds Shiraz siblings.
Granular tannins and acidity contentedly usher an admirable textural demeanour across the front, middle and back-palate spectrum.
Cold lamb and white chocolate flavours wrestle good naturedly with fruits (sour cherry, raspberry and wild strawberry).
Penfolds Wines Established in 1844.
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