95 Point Neal Martin (Wine Journal):Tasted at the “Rewards of Patience” vertical in Berlin. The 2008 St. Henri Shiraz is a blend of 90% Shiraz and 10% Cabernet. Peter Gago said that 90% of Barossa fruit was picked well before 3rd March before the heat wave. Still, it is patently more gregarious, outgoing and voluptuous than the 2007 with copious layers of black cherry, cassis, cedar and just a hint of fresh beetroot. The palate is full-bodied with a dense carapace of primal blackberry and cassis fruit. This is a little monolithic at the moment but it is well balanced and offers great delineation, which renders it controlled and refined on the powerful finish when it could have been overwhelming. Looking back, the 2008 errs towards Bordeaux for inspiration. Once again, this has great potential, but it will need 15-years in bottle. Tasted June 2012.
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.
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.
While Grange is now seen as the quintessential Australian wine, John Davoren's work with St. Henri is of equal importance. Indeed both these wines set new standards for their day with St. Henri establishing an elegant, perfumed style based on fruit definition and maturation in old oak.
Originally the wines were called 'Penfolds St. Henri Claret', but since 1991, with the release of the 1989 vintage, St. Henri has been labelled varietally. Like Grange, the wines have always been Shiraz driven, with small varying percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Nowadays St. Henri is a multi-district blend drawing Shiraz from the Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, the foothills of the Adelaide Hills, and Langhorne Creek. Cabernet Sauvignon, which provides firmness and structure to the St. Henri style, is sourced from the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra and Bordertown.
Pork, cauliflower cream, confit turnip, morcilla, fennel seed and spiced quince pureeHickory smoked beef filletPork & duck rillette