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Flat front label of wine

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 1998

Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
  • W&S93
  • WS90
0% ABV
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  • JS94
  • WE92
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3.5 1 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Penfolds St Henri style is a dramatic contrast to Penfolds Grange. St Henri is pure, unadorned Shiraz, virtually alone among high-quality Australian reds in that it has never relied on new oak. It was created in the mid-1950s (first commercial vintage 1957) and has gained a new lease on 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. Before bottling it is matured in old, 2000 litre vats that allow the wine to develop, but impart no oak character. A small proportion of Cabernet is used to improve structure, but the focal point for Penfolds St Henri is Shiraz, often comprising over 95% of the blend. Packaged in laser-etched bottles since the 1996 vintage.

This is a concentrated, dark wine, with intense summer berry fruits forming a rich ball of flavour on the tongue and offering plenty of depth and palate length. There are fine, ripe tannins that extend into a well-structured velvety texture, with waves of perfume, warm spices and berries running through the finish. Many hallmarks of a very fine wine indeed, akin to the 1990 upon its release.

"Dense, inky purple hue. Nose of rhubarb, plum and blueberry. Slightly sweet palate notes with a walnut accent. Tart black cherry flavors and continued big, oaky tannins with good backing acidity." 90 Points
The Wine News

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
WS 90
Wine Spectator
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Penfolds

Penfolds Wines

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Penfolds Wines, Australia
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Penfolds has been producing remarkable wines since 1844 and indisputably led the development of Australian fine wine in the modern era. The introduction of Penfolds Grange in 1951 forever changed the landscape of Australian fine wine. Since then a series of stand-out wines both white and red have been released under the Penfolds masthead.

Peter Gago, Penfolds Chief Winemaker and only the 4th custodian of Grange, relishes the opportunity to bring Penfolds to the world stage and is an enthusiastic ambassador and natural educator. Penfolds came to the attention of the US market when 1990 Grange was Wine Spectator’s ‘Wine of the Year’. Since then, Penfolds Grange has become one of the most collectable wines of the world and was honored to grace the front cover, once again, of Wine Spectator, with declarations of Grange as Australia’s Icon.

Australia

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A large, climatically diverse country producing just about every wine style imaginable, Australia is often misunderstood by consumers. It is not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute critters on the label, though both can certainly be found here. It is impossible to make generalizations about a country this physically massive, but most regions are concentrated in the south of the country and experience either warm, dry weather, or more humid, tropical influence. Australia has for several decades been at the forefront of winemaking technology and has widely adopted the use of screwcaps, even for some premium and ultra-premium bottles.

Shiraz is indeed Australia’s most celebrated and widely planted variety, typically producing bold, supple reds with sweet, jammy fruit and performing best in the Barossa and Hunter Valleys. Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Shiraz, and also shines on its own particularly in Coonawarra and Margaret River. Grenache and Mourvèdre (often locally referred to as Mataro) are also popular, both on their own and alongside Shiraz in Rhône blends. Chardonnay is common throughout the country and made in a wide range of styles. Sauvignon Blanc has recently surged in popularity to compete with New Zealand’s distinctive version, and Semillon is often utilized as its blending partner, or in the Hunter Valley, on its own to make complex, age-worthy whites. Riesling thrives in the cool-climate Clare and Eden Valleys. Sticky-sweet fortified wine Rutherglen Muscat is a beloved regional specialty of Victoria. Thanks to the country’s relatively agreeable climate throughout and the openness of its people, experimentation is common and ongoing and there is a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

CWYSTHENRI_1998 Item# 52697