Penfolds St Henri is a highly successful 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.
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.
Color: Bright, youthful, red.
Nose: Pure, real, unadulterated, honest Shiraz... and
100% at that in this 2007 vintage release!
Primarily, freshly-pureed mixed-berries -
raspberry, mulberry, loganberry, sitting alongside
aromas alike those from candied/toffeed apple.
Fresh, vibrant, lively.
Palate: A complete wine - fruits, tannins, acid, maturation
artifacts... all combine to structurally & texturally
Tannins are even throughout, yet serve to tighten
palate in middle, with a singular, central focus.
Robe markers - crushed shale (and saltbush/
bluebush?) evident... perhaps understandable at
over one quarter of blend volume.
Poised, yet still lush, generous.
"The colour is bright and deep, the bouquet with black fruits, some meaty aromas and potent spice and licorice components. In the mouth, the flavours are overwhelmingly of black fruits, with echoes of the spice and licorice of the bouquet, and a hint of tobacco. The ripe, but fine, tannins attest to the skills of the winemaking team.
Australian Wine Companion
"Very deep garnet-purple colored, the 2007 St Henri Shiraz is a little closed at this stage, revealing subtle earthy notes over crushed blackberries, pencil lead, toast, game, smoky bacon and tree bark. Medium bodied, elegantly fruited and still very tight-knit, the palate offers beautiful purity structured with firm chewy tannins and very crisp acid that should see it through a long life. Consider drinking it 2013 to 2022+."
The Wine Advocate
"Opaque ruby. Rich cherry and dark berry compote aromas are complicated by dried rose and smoky Indian spices. Dark fruit flavors display impressive concentration and an almost oily texture but are in no way heavy. Becomes chewier on the finish, which emphatically echoes the dark fruit flavors and leaves behind notes of candied licorice and bitter chocolate. This bottling has an admirable track record for aging.
International Wine Cellar
"This vintage of St. Henri shows its old-vine intensity without any jamminess. It's youthful and concentrated, surprisingly smoky for a wine made without any new oak. St. Henri often needs several years in the bottle to show at its best; this '07 is acessible on release, a clean, sleek shiraz for roast lamb."
Wine & Spirits