Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2006 (South Australia)
$100, Screwcap, 14.5%
Source: In store tasting
I actually tasted this less than 12 hours after my last bottle of Kurtz Boundary Row GSM, and I think it did me well – perspective wise – as they, somewhat surprisingly, share quite alot in terms of quality and character.
Whilst that may seem like an odd pairing – $18 Barossan GSM vs $100 South Australian Shiraz (with a smidgen of Cabernet) – they have some flavour similarities. The old oak for example, with the molasses and sawdust character of well used oak showing up on both thanks to 15+ months in old barrels. The two also fit into the mid weight, mildly restrained but fully ripe style that characterise many Barossan reds from 06.
In direct contrast to the Kurtz, however, this St Henri is best served in the cellar, with consumption now a simple waste of money (though I know plenty of others will disagree) given the potential for improvement.
Interestingly, the first thing that I really noticed about this St Henri was how light in colour it was – no black edged, glass stainer here. Now that could either be a good or a bad thing, depending on your views on colour, but I have a certain respect for wines that can be both full bodied and relatively light in hue, largely as any wine that can achieve both is somehow magical.
From first whiff though – and first taste – this is a very raw edged wine, with a burly structure and typical Penfoldian impact, ie lots of tannin and minimal subtlety. Yet what sets this apart, and should set St Henri lovers hearts aflutter, is its length. It’s long, long, dry, long, tannic and convincingly long. It’s actually a mid weight-ish sort of wine, sneakily lacking in lavishness or sweetness and instead built on old fashioned structure and tannins, which I again very much like.
It is this lack of immediacy then that marks this as a sleeper of a wine – the sort of red that will be good now but greater later. And given the St Henri pedigree, that’s exactly (theoretically at least) where it needs to be.
I’m thus giving this St Henri a quite moderate score, as for all the glory of the style, it is well away from it’s point of greatness. In recommendation terms though I say buy with confidence, just don’t drink it now. Drink 2014-2026, 18.3/93++