A deep magenta with a foreboding core, the 2015 drop is instantly recognisable as Penfolds St Henri on the nose. No DNA testing needed. Wafts ascend akin to roasted meats – seared crust of venison, game meats. Then a sprinkling of crushed kola nut. A further swirl or two reveals dark chocolate ganache and nuttiness.
The palate is complete without gaps inducing the ‘St Henri silkiness’ we’ve come to love. An assertive wedge of dark berried fruit including boysenberry, loganberry, and blackberry – á la ‘Fruits of the Forest’. Yet, there’s much more – certainly not only appealing fruit, friendly tannins and balance. Add: luminosity, buoyancy, vibrancy, harmony – quite the package!
Needs some time in bottle to unfurl. Patience needed.
Best drinking 2020-2045
95 – James Halliday
“… Deep crimson-purple; an almost tarry note lurks in the blackcurrant, tapenade and earth of the bouquet; there is a torrent of flavour, richer yet cooler than many ’15s.”
About St Henri Shiraz
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, mocha-like 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.