Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2004
Dense, dark red with a very dark core. The bouquet is intense, dense and spicy--notes of nutmeg, lavender, rosemary and musk with evocative wafts of black and red liquorice arising. Some floral aromas are present, although assorted fruits dominate with glazed cherries, prune (fruitcake mixture) to the fore. Close inspection reveals aged pipe tobacco and roasted lamb juice and quince complexities. The palate is, in a word, exceptional! Everything demanded of a top-notch St. Henri palate is delivered. The ripe, rounded and finely textured tannins, courted by vibrant (zingy) acidity, certainly induce a youthful disposition. Medium-dark cherry fruits are complexed by cold roasted lamb and black pudding flavours - layered and dense.
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.
Though Syrah originated in the Rhône Valley of France, Australia is home to the oldest Syrah (called Shiraz here) vines on the planet. Found in Australia’s Barossa Valley, where phylloxera has never threated viticulture, these ancient vines are between 140 to 175 years old!
Having brought fame and merit to the country’s wine scene since the early 1950s, namely via the debut of Penfolds Grange, today Syrah (Shiraz) claims rank as the most widely planted grape in Australia. In fact, the amount of land dedicated to Shiraz in Australia is now almost equivalent to what it is in France. Australian Shiraz has its own personality with flavors and aromas of intense blackberry, fruitcake, menthol, tobacco leaf and umami. Conveniently one can find great Australian Shiraz at a variety of price points but the very best will be dense, gloriously complex and capable of long aging.