This morning we are thrilled to offer two of the most renowned wines from the formidable Penfolds range, 2017 Grange and 2018 St Henri. Penfolds Grange hardly needs an introduction, it is not only the flagship of the their range, but it is also an undisputed global ambassador of New World wine as Australia’s most iconic and collectible wine. This year we welcome the 2017 Grange, which is remarkably only the seventh vintage to be produced with a blend of 100% shiraz, with 86% hailing from the Barossa Valley and the remaining 14% from McLaren Vale. It has been awarded 96 points from Joe Czerwinski of The Wine Advocate, who admires, “Full-bodied, ripe and almost decadently creamy in the mouth, it’s loaded with substance, concentrated and rich, yet—in the context of Grange—relatively light and elegant-seeming on the finish” while Josh Raynolds of Vinous has bestowed it with a 97 Point score, appreciating the, “superb clarity and spicy lift to its spice-laced bitter cherry, cassis, blueberry and floral pastille flavors, which take on black cardamom, menthol and cola nuances as the wine slowly stretches out. Shows superb delineation and spicy thrust on the youthfully tannic finish, which features resonating cherry, blue fruit and floral notes.” It released today at the price of £2,070 per case of six.
Moving on to a diametrically opposed style of Australian Shiraz, we are very pleased to be able to offer the stunning 2018 vintage of St Henri, which has been awarded a superb 97 points from Joe Czerwinski as well as a near perfect 99 point score from James Suckling. In 2018, the fruit hails primarily from the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, but it includes a small amount from Port Lincoln, Robe, Padthaway, Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills. Whereas Grange embraces powerful and opulent style, St. Henri personifies elegance and nuance. Czerwinski comments, “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.” The release price today of £324 per case of six allows access to what we believe to be one of the world’s finest Syrah dominant wines at a tremendously compelling price.
The history of Penfolds Grange and St Henri present two competing styles, designed to complement each other. In the 1950s the Australian wine industry was largely trying to make dry red wine out of very raw materials, using grapes cultivated for Port style wine production. Penfolds embarked on a project to create world class wines, engaging their winemakers to do something different; two winemakers Max Schubert and John Davoren broke the mould. In 1951, Schubert created an experimental wine by bottling Shiraz after fermenting in American oak. He named it Grange Hermitage. However, at the same time, Davoren was tasked with fashioning St Henri, which was created deliberately to challenge and juxtapose Penfolds Grange (then Hermitage Grange). Where Grange was viewed as polemical, St Henri was designed to use conventional winemaking techniques. Davoren worked painstakingly throughout the 1950s and in 1957 ordained the first vintage.
Penfolds Grange is selected from the very best grapes taken from the best parcels and blocks in Penfold’s vast empire. Each is blind tasted, removing all vineyard bias, and letting the wine itself do the talking. As such, it is a multi-vineyard and multi-district wine. Grange gets the full treatment, with Penfolds and Peter Gago throwing all of their collective skills and vast resources into creating something remarkably special. It undergoes nearly two years in 100% new American oak hogshead. It is hardly surprising therefore, that it forms one of the pillars of the pantheon of the world’s finest wines.
Stylistically, since the 1990s Penfolds St Henri has once again cemented itself as the highly efficacious counterpoint to Grange as a completely alternative expression of Shiraz. Unusually, for Australian Shiraz, St Henri