Penfolds St. Henri is a counterpoint to Penfolds Grange. St.
Henri is a highly successful, alternative expression of Shiraz. It is unusual among high quality Australian red wines as it does not rely on new oak. It was created in the mid-1950s (first commercial vintage 1957) and gained a new lease of life in the 1990s as its quality and distinctive style became better understood.
Penfolds St. Henri is rich and plush when young and gains soft, earthy, mocha-like characters as it ages. It is matured in old, 1460-litre vats that allow the wine to develop, but impart no oak character. A small proportion of Cabernet is often used to improve structure, but the focal point for Penfolds St. Henri is Shiraz. Packaged in laser-etched bottles since the 1996 vintage.
Colour Medium crimson, purple.
Nose Tinned dark plum, blackberry, and raspberry fruits with a suggestion of kirsch. Aromas of charcuterie dissipate with aeration, and more perfume and floral notes arise. Hints of white chocolate and spice also gain prominence upon sitting in the glass. Palate A tight and well-structured wine with redcurrant fruits and spice immediately apparent. Mouthwatering acidity induces an engaging backbone conveying all before it to the back palate. Abundant, firm, yet fine-grained tannins complete the textural offering, neither aggressive nor obtrusive. A solid offering from the 2000 vintage, a vintage more obviously suited to the fruit-driven St. Henri style.
Vintage ConditionsAs in most south-eastern districts, some rain fell between Christmas and New Year, followed by very dry and very hot conditions until March. Crops were down by 20-40 percent and good ripeness was achieved.