Penfolds 2015 St. Henri Shiraz
93% Shiraz, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon | Alc: 14.5% – Big and Bold
South Australia, Australia
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.
“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.” 93 Pts – The Wine Advocate
“Opaque ruby. Rich cherry and dark berry compote aromas are complicated by dried rose and smoky Indian spices. Dark fruit flavors display impressive concentration and an almost oily texture but are in no way heavy. Becomes chewier on the finish, which emphatically echoes the dark fruit flavors and leaves behind notes of candied licorice and bitter chocolate. This bottling has an admirable track record for aging.” 94+ Pts – Jeb Dunnuck
“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.” 95 Pts – Australian Wine Companion
“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.” 94 Pts – Wine & Spirits
“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.” 94 Pts – James Suckling
“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” 96 Pts – Decanter