Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2019 (1500ml)

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2019 (1500ml)

Sale price$320.00
McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway & Others, South Australia, Australia

Style: Red Wine

Variety: Shiraz

Closure: Cork

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Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2019 (1500ml)

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, usually ready in 2-4 days

Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

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Producer: Penfolds

Country: Australia

Region: Multi Regional SA

Vintage: 2019

Critic Score: 98

Alcohol: 14.5%

Size: 1500 ml

Drink by: 2070

A stunning proposition. This iron fist in a velvet glove is immensely impressive - Vinous

James Suckling Top 100 Wines of Australia 2022

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. Released for the first time by Penfolds in the early 1950s (first commercial vintage 1957), it 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, 1,460 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. 

"A sophisticated, dark, almost mysterious shiraz, a wine with secrets within that one suspects will reveal great joys over the next 20 to 30 years, as its forebears have proved for more than half a century. A serious SA shiraz that remains a really enticing proposition."  Tony Love

"The abiding character of St Henri is its longevity, particularly in the context of better vintages. It has none of the make-up of new American oak that can hide the imperfections of a lesser vintage. A great St Henri will come into its own in a bare minimum of 10 years, and live long thereafter."  James Halliday 

The 2019 Penfolds St Henri is 100% shiraz from premium vineyards in McLaren Vale (25%), Barossa Valley (21%), Padthaway (20%), Wrattonbully (19%) and rest from The Peninsulas (outskirts of Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula). It was aged for 12 months in 50+ y.o. large seasoned oak vats.

"Structural descriptors don't usually lead the charge for St Henri, but they are certainly faithful to the 2019 vintage.  A fine graphite core. The warmth and creaminess of Mexican sauce with the weight of wild game: venison loin, braised hare. Eventually sweet custard flavours emerge, smooth and textural. Portuguese tart!  A suggestion of fine salinity aligns with mouth-watering acidity, cleansing. As always with St Henri, restrained, no need to be showy. The dark cacoa tannins are so fine they could be spun from silk. Will age and evolve beautifully for decades. Peak drinking 2024 to 2045.

Vintage conditions: McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley recorded well below long-term average winter rainfall, while the vineyards in the South-East growing districts enjoyed above-average winter rainfall. September temperatures were cool with little rainfall, resulting in some isolated frost events. Summer was generally hot, with high temperatures delaying veraison. The Barossa Valley experienced 31 days of temperatures exceeding 35°C while McLaren Vale experienced 25 days (December to March). Irrigation was crucial to keep vines in good health. The proximity of the Southern Ocean played an important role in moderating temperatures in Wrattonbully and Padthaway, allowing for a high-quality harvest, albeit with smaller yields than average. Although yields were down in all regions, the quality was outstanding with shiraz showing excellent colours, firm tannin profiles and intense flavours."  Penfolds

Expert reviews

"This can only ever be a stylistic expression of the shiraz variety, as sourcing from six SA districts eliminates regionality. The wine's point of difference within the Penfolds range is that it has no new oak maturation and spends only 12 months in large format seasoned vats. The result is a sophisticated, dark, almost mysterious shiraz, a wine with secrets within that one suspects will reveal great joys over the next 20 to 30 years, as its forebears have proved for more than half a century. For now, in and around the black fruits there are flint, mushroom, licorice and roast meat notes. Plenty to unpack. A serious SA shiraz that remains a really enticing proposition."  Tony Love, Wine Pilot - 98 points

"Immediately spicy and complex, this has a rich blackberry and dark-plum nose, together with dark-chocolate and tarry, earthy elements. The palate has a very rich, fleshy feel with such ripe dark-plum, dark-chocolate, blackberry and mulberry flavors on offer. Generous, yet balanced. A South Australian blend of McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully and The Peninsulas. Drink or hold. Screw cap."  James Suckling, - 98 points and Top 100 Wines of Australia 2022

"Very deep, dark and concentrated colour; the bouquet very warm and ripe: baked fruits, ironstone, terracotta, baked earth, also graphite, the palate very full-bodied, dense and powerful, a big wine for St Henri, coating the mouth with tannins and concentrated flavour. Very long finish. Drink: 2023–2044."  Huon Hooke, The Real Review - 96 points

"The St Henri Shiraz is often one of my favorite reds in the Penfolds Collection, due to the ability of the fruit to shine through the fine sheath of oak that encases it. At this stage, and I know you will hear this often, the wine still represents good value. The 2019 St Henri Shiraz is elegantly structured, with the 2019 vintage showing the warmth and intensity without overstepping balance or line. Texturally, this will only increase in its silky shape, which comes with the gentle suggestion to decant this if you insist on drinking it within five years from harvest (i.e., anytime from now to 2024). This 2019 is shaped by abundant red and purple fruit (and a splash of blue), charry spice and fine tannins. Gorgeous."  Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate - 96+ points

"I'm loving the tannin on this release, the long minerally-flourish of the finish, the subtle mocha notes in there with the cherries and boysenberries and plums. There's dry/roasted spice here and a good deal of it. Classic St Henri release, studded with fennel, perfumed, unhurried, lengthy, complete. Drink : 2026 - 2040+."  Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front - 96 points

"So much comfort comes from each sip of this graceful, understated Shiraz, boasting a meld of all the essential elements: bright, crunchy fruit freshness and satisfying savoury grip, all bound together in an intriguing textural tussle. There's much to contemplate, with olive, plum, mulberry, cocoa and cranberry all rolling and pitching on a king tide in the mid-palate. Such a luxurious sum of the parts makes you want to dive in for more."  David Sly, Decanter – 96 points

"Deep crimson. Intense black cherry, blackcurrant, roasted walnut, cacao, herb garden aromas with cedar notes. Well concentrated sweet black cherry, blackcurrant, hint strawberry fruits, and jammy notes. Some dark chocolate chinotto flavours, fine loose-knit slinky textures, very good mid-palate richness and inky density. Finishes claret firm with roasted walnut notes and attractive mineral length. More bottle age will bring all the elements together. Very expressive. Drink 2024-2042."  Andrew Caillard MW, The Vintage Journal Penfolds Collection 2022 - 95 points

"The grace and effortless confidence of St Henri are set to a tune of dark, spicy berry and plum fruit of a warm, low-yielding season. Fine-grained tannins draw out a medium-bodied finish of graceful persistence. This is not a vintage of fireworks, but of comfortable and relaxed stature."  Tyson Stelzer - 95 points

"The 2019 St Henri is a high powered and historic South Australian Shiraz. It brings together the richness of the 2019 vintage with the understated St Henri style to provide a stunning proposition. Raw power is on display with punchy aromas of violets, blackberries and ink with mocha oak sitting gently in the background. The palate follows suit with a muscular feel and chewy tannins underpinning a rich bed of broody black fruits which are sustained through to a long, dense finish. This iron fist in a velvet glove is immensely impressive and will, without doubt, age beautifully."  Angus Hughson, Vinous - 94+ points

"St. Henri is a snug, firm fit. Another quiet starter, too but warms to its task the longer the wine is open. Once it gets going, it fills out the middle palate and runs long with plenty of sweet fruit, dark chocolate, tapenade, a touch of leathery savouriness and St. Henri's distinctive old school, mulled wine spice. St. Henri's role is to offer an alternative expression of shiraz, what Penfolds refers to as a “counterpoint” to Grange. In other words, no new oak. The 2020 saw 12 months in large, seasoned oak vats. This method always brings a mix of savouriness and spice to the shiraz fruit, often too much. The result can sometimes produce a lack of freshness and energy. That's where those sapid fine tannins come into play. They work a treat."  Jeni Port, Wine Pilot – 94 points 


Top 100 Wines of Australia 2022 - James Suckling

About st henri

Penfolds St Henri photo

The first vintage of St Henri – then Auldana Cellars St Henri Claret – was produced in 1888, beginning one of the most famous and enduring names in Australian wine. It was likely named after Auldana's winemaker Léon Edmond Mazure's son Henri or his wife, Philomine Henriette. The wine immediately enjoyed success, winning the Championship Cup for Best Claret in Australia at the Adelaide Wine Show in 1890 and then again as a joint winner in 1891. The St Henri label disappeared somewhere around the beginning of World War 1, probably because of reduced export sales. It was revived by Senior Red Winemaker John Davoren at Penfolds in 1953 to celebrate the centenary of Auldana Cellars (established by Patrick Auld in 1853) but the wine was not widely released. The 1953 release was made from Auldana and Paracombe fruit and the label design was based on original St Henri labels found in a loft at Auldana Cellars shortly after its sale to Penfolds in 1947.

According to retired Penfolds Senior Winemaker John Bird, the first vintages of St Henri were cabernet sauvignon and mataro blends. The fruit was foot stomped in open-ended hogsheads during vinification. After fermentation, the wine was matured in oak vats rather than hogsheads for around 18 months. John Davoren's aim was to make a wine in the traditional Claret style, accentuating fruit and maturation characters, rather than oak complexity. In this way the winemaking style differs to Grange, as it relies on larger seasoned oak vessels without any barrel fermentation. The 1957 vintage is officially recognised as the first St Henri commercial release under the Penfolds name. Nonetheless, John Davoren describes all of the 1950s vintages as “trials”. These experimental wines from 1953 to 1959 mark an important step forward for winemaking in Australia. Not only does St Henri honour the late 19th-century aspirations of Auldana's proprietor Sir Josiah Symon and winemaker Léon Edmond Mazure, but without the professional rivalry between Max Schubert and John Davoren, the Grange story would not have the same richness or romance. Initially St Henri achieved greater commercial success than Grange, although both were offered to the public as Claret styles. St Henri was a more elegant, approachable and familiar style because it reflected traditional winemaking techniques, whereas the revolutionary Grange was something of a blockbuster with more richness and fullness.

Today Penfolds St Henri is a multi-regional multi-vineyard South Australian blend, primarily based on shiraz, although it still honours the original style. Significant contributions of shiraz come from Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek, Robe and Bordertown; cabernet sauvignon from Coonawarra, Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills. After vinification the wine is matured in seasoned large oak vats for around 15 to 18 months before bottling. 

St Henri was labelled 'Claret' until the 1989 vintage. Packaged in laser-etched bottles
since the 1996 vintage. Released in many markets under screwcap since 2005. St Henri Shiraz possesses a unique stature in the story of Australian wine. With its proven style and aging potential, it is a favourite among Penfold's collectors. 

Extract from Penfolds Rewards of Patience tasting panel 2021

After the success of early sherries and fortified wines, founders Dr Christopher and Mary Penfold planted the vine cuttings they had carried on their voyage over to Australia. In 1844 the fledging vineyard was officially established as the Penfolds wine company at Magill Estate.

As the company grew, so too did Dr Penfold's medical reputation, leaving much of the running of the winery to Mary Penfold. Early forays into Clarets and Rieslings proved increasingly popular, and on Christopher's death in 1870, Mary assumed total responsibility for the winery. Mary's reign at the helm of Penfolds saw years of determination and endeavour.

By the time Mary Penfold retired in 1884 (ceding management to her daughter, Georgina) Penfolds was producing 1/3 of all South Australia's wine. She'd set an agenda that continues today, experimenting with new methods in wine production. By Mary's death in 1896, the Penfolds legacy was well on its way to fruition. By 1907, Penfolds had become South Australia's largest winery.

In 1948, history was made again as Max Schubert became the company's first Chief Winemaker. A loyal company man and true innovator, Schubert would propel Penfolds onto the global stage with his experimentation of long-lasting wines - the creation of Penfolds Grange in the 1950s.

In 1959 (while Schubert was perfecting his Grange experiment in secret), the tradition of ‘bin wines' began. The first, a Shiraz wine with the grapes of the company's own Barossa Valley vineyards was simply named after the storage area of the cellars where it is aged. And so Kalimna Bin 28 becomes the first official Penfolds Bin number wine.

In 1960, the Penfolds board instructed Max Schubert to officially re-start production on Grange. His determination and the quality of the aged wine had won them over.

Soon, the medals began flowing and Grange quickly became one of the most revered wines around the world. In 1988 Schubert was named Decanter Magazine's Man of the Year, and on the 50th anniversary of its birth, Penfolds Grange was given a heritage listing in South Australia.

Despite great success, Penfolds never rests on its laurels. In 2012 Penfolds released its most innovative project to date - 12 handcrafted ampoules of the rare 2004 Kalimna Block Cabernet Sauvignon.

Two years later, Penfolds celebrated the 170th anniversary – having just picked up a perfect score of 100 for the 2008 Grange in two of the world's most influential wine magazines. Today, Penfolds continues to hold dear the philosophies and legends – ‘1844 to evermore!'.

Wine region map of South Australia

South Australia

South Australian is responsible for more than half the production of all Australian wine. It is home to more than 900 wineries across 18 wine regions. The regions are Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Currency Creek, Eden Valley, Kangaroo Island, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Mount Benson, Mount Gambier, Padthaway, Riverland, Robe, Southern Fleurieu, Southern Flinders Ranges and Wrattonbully.

Many of the well-known names in the South Australian wine industry established their first vineyards in the late 1830s and early 1840s. The first vines in McLaren Vale were planted at Reynella in 1839 and Penfold's established Magill Estate on the outskirts of Adelaide in 1844.

South Australia has a vast diversity in geography and climate which allows the State to be able to produce a range of grape varieties - from cool climate Riesling in the Clare and Eden Vallies to the big, full bodied Shiraz wines of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Two of Australia's best-known wines, Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace, are produced here. There is much to discover in South Australia for the wine lover.