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Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2015

Syrah/Shiraz from Australia
  • D96
  • JH95
  • JD94
  • JS94
  • W&S94
  • RP93
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Deep magenta, foreboding core. The nose is Instantly recognizable. First impression – Penfolds. Second – St Henri. Wafts ascend akin to roasted meats – seared crust of venison, game meats. Then a sprinkling of crushed kola nut, star anise, black licorice, quince paste. A further swirl or two unleashes more familial St Henri markers of dark chocolate ganache and a biscotti nuttiness. Palate is complete, no gaps – spills across the palate avec a coating of fine (emery paper) polished tannins – inducing a ‘St Henri silkiness’. An assertive wedge of fruit – dark berried – 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, complex … ever so youthful, yet dangerously accessible. Patience.

Blend: 93% Shiraz and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Critical Acclaim

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D 96
Decanter

Described by Peter Gago as the antithesis of a ‘show wine’, Penfolds' much loved and admired St Henri Shiraz continues to plough its own furrow in glorious style. In many ways it is a superb counterpoint to the more senior Grange, having been aged in large, old oak vats. The nose here is cocoa powder and summer pudding with a touch of mocha. This segues onto a palate of red and black fruits, dark chocolate, graphite and liquorice. St Henris are usually built for the long haul thanks to their acidity, fruit and densely populated tannins, and this is no exception. Superbly structured, juicily vibrant, sweet and balanced, this is tempting to broach now. However, I’d leave it for a couple of decades and wait for the magic to unfurl.

Drinking Window 2017 - 2040

JH 95
Australian Wine Companion
93% shiraz, 7% cabernet sauvignon from McLaren Vale, Robe, The Peninsulas, Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, Adelaide Hills and Mount Benson, matured for 12 months in 50+yo large oak vats. 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.
JD 94
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2015 Shiraz St. Henri needed plenty of air to shine (I followed this wine for three days) but is a rich, beautiful wine. Ripe black raspberries, incense, minty herbs, and liquid violet notes all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, layered, concentrated Shiraz that’s impeccably balanced. It doesn’t have the broad, multi-dimensional texture found in the 2016s but is classic, focused, and structured. Give bottles another 3-4 years, and it will keep for 10-15 years.Rating: 94+
JS 94
James Suckling
A very silky and approachable edition with a fresh, leathery edge, ahead of mainly redder fruit, pastry, cedar, leaves and a dried eucalyptus-leaf note. The palate is long, silky and supple with a succulent array of redder fruit and blackberry notes. Super primary and elegant. This is a young pup, nicely proportioned but slightly simple for now. Give it plenty of time in the cellar. A blend of 93 per cent shiraz and seven per cent cabernet sauvignon, sourced from McLaren Vale, Robe, The Peninsulas, Barossa Valley, Wrattonbully, Adelaide Hills and Mt. Benson. Try from 2025.
W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
What happens when you take your top fruit and age it in large, old oak vats instead of new oak barrels? That was the question John Davoren raised in the 1950s, as a contemporary of Max Schubert, who was busy developing Grange. St. Henri is a historic Penfolds label now identified by Davoren’s distinctive style, and this 2015 has the clarity, density and tight kernel of blue-black fruit that’s identifiably St. Henri. It comes from a dry season with early flowering and an early harvest, and no heat waves in between. This is not a heady, chocolatey or generously fruit-forward shiraz. Instead, the structure is based on fruit tannins, with the blackness of iron and the saltiness of blood, a mineral edge that surrounds the fruit and holds it tight. Though it’s based on winemaking style rather than terroir, you might find that the austere, aristocratic St. Henri is to Grange as Chevalier-Montrachet is to Montrachet.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Black olive and plum notes form the base of the 2015 Shiraz St Henri, a wine that sees no new oak (it's aged entirely in old foudres). This vintage includes 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, which gives a bit of lift and a leafy, floral note on the nose. It's medium to full-bodied, with a firm, structured feel and ample tannins to ensure 20-plus years of longevity.
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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 not just a source of blockbuster Shiraz or inexpensive wine with cute labels, though both can certainly be found here. Australia has a grand winemaking history and some of the oldest vines on the planet, along with a huge range of landscapes and climates; it is impossible to make generalizations about Australian wine. Most regions are concentrated in the south of the country with those inland experiencing warm, dry weather, and those in more coastal areas receiving humid and tropical, or maritime weather patterns. 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 are a vast array of intriguing varieties to be found.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

CWL79800015_2015 Item# 514594