Screaming Eagle – The epitome of California cult Cabernet Sauvignon. It all started in 1992 when Jean Philips decided to bottle her Cabernet Sauvignon rather than selling the grapes to other wineries. 1992 was their first vintage and was awarded an almost perfect score of 99 points from wine critic Robert Parker. The rest is history.
Perhaps the first thing that comes across anyone’s mind is the astonishing prices of Screaming Eagle, the latest release 2013 Screaming Eagle is currently selling for more than £2500 a bottle on Wine Searcher, making it by far the most expensive US Cabernet in the world. Some of those lucky customers on the mailing list are able to buy them at a more ‘reasonable’ price, but a lot of these ‘die-hard fans’ end up reselling (aka. flipping) their precious bottles at a higher price and make a quick profit.
I doubt the business orientated owners will do anything to reduce the absurd prices or prevent their wines from turning into a precious commodities. Putting the price aside, their wines are very special and unique, but personally I find it hard to justify the four digit price for a single bottle of Screaming Eagle.
The annual production of Screaming Eagle is around 500-1000 cases depending on the vintage, but I reckon this will increase once they have completed replanting some of their plots. Second Flight annual production is around 500-800 cases. They also produce a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc for in-house consumption, around 25-30 cases.
In 2006, Screaming Eagle winery created a second wine, rightfully “Second Flight“. A merlot expression of Screaming Eagle, meant to be consumed younger than Screaming Eagle.
Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc is the most expensive Sauvignon Blanc in the world, a mere 30 cases made each year and sold privately ‘in-house’ and to a few loyal fans of Screaming Eagle. Though looking at wine searcher, there is a handful of them flipping their bottles. Stands out from other US Sauvignon Blanc with its purity and precision. High toned and gorgeous texture, fresh peach, Mosel like acidity, a touch new oak and wonderful intensity and length.
A fine wine but hard to justify price.
Screaming Eagle 2014
Screaming Eagle 2014 is the best Screaming Eagle out of the few I have tasted. Seriously intense without any heaviness or excessive viscosity. The balance between density and texture is exceptional. Powerful aromas of dark fruits, cassis, high tone-lush character with multiple layers. There is a sense of electric buzz on the palate, pure, ripe cassis, sweet blueberries with Earthy depth (Bordeaux 1st Growth?), silky tannins and espresso, sexy and refined. It grabs your attention for a long time.
Screaming Eagle 2011
Screaming Eagle is by far one of the most talked-about wineries in Napa Vally, and certainly is the most expensive wine in Napa.Supreme nose of fresh cassis, dark plums, a touch green, coffee beans and carefully-styled perfumes. Intense and impressive structure built for ageing.
A cross between Bordeaux 1st Growth structure and Napa lifted tones, very charming. High-pitched tones and gentle oak influence, a very serious wine. Overpriced but I can sort of see why it’s expensive Drink 2017-2029.
Screaming Eagle 2006
Screaming Eagle, the most expensive and sort after wine in the whole USA by a mile. The prices of Screaming Eagle have reached a new high, yet it doesn’t seem to be plateauing. 2006 is currently at a whopping £2600 per bottle!
2006 is very rich and multilayered. A hedonistic high tone perfume and subtle opulent spices, old style Screaming . Sweet touch of Napa with ample tannins and brilliant structure of a great Bordeaux, elegantly ripe and seductive. Needs a lot more time to tame this beast.
Second Flight 2006
2006 is the first commercially available vintage for Screaming Eagle Second Flight. A merlot driven blend with the resemblance of Screaming Eagle. Made by Andy Erickson, also his first vintage in Screaming. It’s tannic, composed, and dense. More Cab S than usual. Subtle high-tone fragrant and some savoury red fruits. Served next to Screaming 2006. Excellent structure and carries a distinctive Screaming Eagle perfume, subtle chocolate, cassis. Delicious now and can age 10 years more easily.
Second Flight 2011
Second Flight is the merlot expression of Screaming Eagle. Second Flight is a lot more approachable than Screaming Eagle on release, usually can enjoy it within a couple years after release. 2011 was a wet vintage, and this was no doubt the ‘Pleaser’ compared with other vintages. Chubby red plums, high toned sophistication, more expressive than 06 and 14. A touch savoury and green herbal, a cool wine filled with energy. 2011 Second Flight was weaker than 13 and 06. Still an excellent young wine
Second Flight 2014
Screaming Eagle will soon release their 2014 vintage, and I am very envious of those who get the allocation! 2014 is showing less structure and raw intensity than 2013, but it has great tension and latent energy that could make this one of the greatest Second Flight ever made. Sexy floral Merlot with Screaming high-tones and lush dark fruits, cocoa. Lovely ripeness and richness without the structure of 2013. Beautiful tannins on the palate with attractive character. One of the best Second Flights.