Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2018
St Henri is a time-honored 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. A great St. Henri and, although multi-regional, this is very much a wine that speaks of the Barossa Valley, with aromas of ripe blackberries and red plums that are so fresh, together with tobacco, young-leather, earth, chocolate, coal-smoke and tarry accents. Effortless depth on the palate with summer berries, framed in fine, alabaster-like tannins that are underscored with discreet power. So long and captivating. A blend of Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Port Lincoln, Robe, Padthaway, Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills. Drink over the next decade or more. Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Port Lincoln, Robe, Padthaway, Clare Valley and Adelaide Hills fruit. Matured 12 months in 50+yo vats. The effortless, unassuming self-assuredness of St Henri holds a unique and beloved place in the assemblage of Penfolds heroes, and 2018 marks a particularly special release. Accomplished, spicy, glossy black fruits of grand integrity unfold to magnificent effect in the glass, contrasting a fine-boned frame of rigid yet graceful, powder-fine tannins that carry a finish of long-lingering line and alluring appeal. I look forward to spectating from the sidelines as its fruit slowly unfurls over the decades to come. An adorable St Henri that exemplifies all that this label stands for. The 2018 St Henri Shiraz is a terrific effort, perhaps rivaling the top-flight wines under this label in 1976 and 1986. Remarkably fine and silky in texture yet simultaneously dense and concentrated, it showcases the amazing fruit harvested in 2018. Boysenberry, mulberry and mocha shadings all swirl together effortlessly in a whorl of full-bodied elegance, finishing long and effortless. Mainly Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, it includes smaller amounts of fruit from Port Lincoln, Robe, Padthaway, Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills, all aged 12 months in large old wooden vats.