Penfolds, St. Henri Shiraz, South Australia, 2010
This wine: a syrah dominated blend with cabernet sauvignon, unoaked (essentially) – matured 18 months in very old oak vats, natural cork closure, 14.5% abv, 375ml, Wine Society, £31 (2015)
Consumer tasting note: a strong, complex nose of ripe black berries, overt dark chocolate, dried berries and tobacco, and low-key oakiness; a full body with high alcohol, with strong flavour concentration, slightly porty, with over-ripe black berries, liquorice and low-key oaky notes. A long length, decant for 2+ hours.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of lifted, ripe black berry and black cherry with an edge of red berries, smoky warm dark chocolate, low-key toast and oak, a hint of vanilla, stewed red plum, dried currants, sweet tobacco, sun-dried red pepper, a creamy lactic edge and a floral hint, stewed black berry and liquorice, whiff of old varnish.
Palate: a dry wine, medium (+) acidity, medium (+) ripe tannins, high alcohol and a full body, medium (+) intensity, a velvety texture, with flavours of over-ripe black cherry, black berry, ripe red plum, liquorice and low-key spicy oak, low-key creamy vanilla, slightly porty. A long length, with a clean moderately grippy black fruited and liquorice finish, underpinned by very low-key oak.
Quality: a very good quality wine, fresh acidity and ripe tannins a match for the alcohol, which is harmonious with the flavour intensity. Nicely balanced overall. Well into its development phase with wood and bottle age evident, with notes of chocolate, dried and stewed fruits, and tobacco. Showing strong complexity allied with strong flavour concentration, reflected in the length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing – over say 3-5 years, with a sound structure, primary fruit to develop, and tannins may round out a little more.