Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2019


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South Australia, Australia
98 points




Penfolds is probably the most extraordinary of the world’s wine brands with an enviable reputation for quality at every price level. The original Penfold was an English doctor who, in 1844, planted grapes at Magill, now a suburb of Adelaide. However, it was not until the late 1940s that Penfolds began to forge a reputation for red wine.

The Penfolds house style emerged from a fortified wine-producing culture and evolved as a winemaking philosophy that has had a profound effect on the entire Australian wine industry.

Today, the Penfolds house style embraces the concept of multi-regional blending, optimum fruit quality, the use of fine-grained American or French oak, barrel fermentation, and maturation. Overall, the Penfolds style is about highly-defined fruit aromas, fruit sweetness, ripe tannins, richness, power, and concentration. The number of iconic wines that have emerged from the Penfolds stable over the years is remarkable.

St Henri is a time-honoured and alternative expression of Shiraz and an intriguing counterpoint to Grange. It is unusual amongst high-quality Australian red wines as it does not rely on any new oak. 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 with age. It is matured in an assortment of old large vats that allow the wine to develop, imparting minimal if any oak character. Although a small proportion of cabernet may sneak into the blend, the focal point for St Henri remains Shiraz.


98 points
Tony Love

This can only ever be a stylistic expression of the Shiraz variety, as sourcing from six SA districts eliminates regionality. (For the record, The Peninsulas is a defined GI region, this fruit coming from the outskirts of Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula.) 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.


Serving Temp.
16-18 °C
Cellar until
Now - 2042
Food pairing
Beef and Venison

Tasting Profile

A charming Shiraz, always an outlier among its peers. Here you will find no new oak influence, none required, the very essence of shiraz gently matured in large, seasoned vats. Close examination calls for a wine glass of generous proportions. Swirl, allow the aromatics to emerge slowly, gently. The dark fruits are first to show their credentials... blackberries and mulberries generously adorned with fresh whipped cream. The crunchier red fruits appear next, pomegranate and cranberry. Exotic, enticing. There is a suggestion of mild paprika. A hint of liquorice, toasted fennel seed, dried mint. Meaty aromas, Greek lamb rubbed with olive oil, oregano and sea salt twirling on the rotisserie. From the charcutier, savoury bresaola and prosciutto. Burnished vintage leather.
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 cacao tannins are so fine they could be spun from silk. Will age and evolve beautifully for decades.

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2019

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2019

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The Reserve Cellars. ABN 89621364994 Liquor License 196883. The Reserve Cellar supports the responsible service of alcohol. It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years. WARNING: Under the Liquor Act 1992, it is an offence to supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years (Penalty exceeds $6,000). for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase or receive liquor (Penalty exceeds $500).

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