It Won’t Let Me Love It

Black, impenetrable purple with same edges.  Not particularly staining.  Flabby nose redolent of hi-AL and madeira.  Closer inspection reveals considerable baking-spices and charm, but the whole package smells of glycerol-ridden fat, gone prunes macerated in alcohol.  I want to like this wine so bad but it is just GONE.  Perhaps never ‘there’.  “Poor Man’s Grange” at 7 years and gone?  Not a rousing nod toward the *real thing*.  Let’s get a couple things clear.  I am the biggest Penfold’s fan.  However, I must go on record as being a Bin 28 person.  I have enjoyed many St. Henri’s over the years and actually have a few in my cellar.  As good as they CAN BE, they have never WOWWED me like Kalimna can.  128 and 389 being the instant-gratuitous oaky flash-in-the-pan crowd-pleasers with no shelf-life, and for me, Bin 2 and St Henri have always had this sort of tedious concentration which doesn’t play out well in later years.  Fat and brooding, both, and when you look deep into the abyss, they honestly rarely pay off.  This thing is gone.  There’s no arguing the fact.  There’s just no life in it, plain and simple.  I want desperately to love it, but it avoids me.  In the mouth, over-ripe plum and pear dissolve into still-substantial tannins.  Certainly it is labelled the de-facto Aussie 14-5.  This thing is port.  Plain and simple.  I’ve had Zinfandels with more life than this.  You can sit around all day convincing yourself this wine is lovely based on expectations and what you paid for it and how long you waited but it’s shit.  Burnt, maderized, shit.  As Steve Martin said, “I’ve seen bigger lumps in oatmeal.”

2008 PENFOLD’S St. Henri Shiraz South Australia 14.5

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