SCREAMING EAGLE "THE FLIGHT"

The most sought after California CultWine in the World! This small operation is located just below the Dalla Valle vineyard near the Oakville Cross. Screaming Eagle's Cabernet Sauvignons are going to create quite a stir among lovers of that varietal - if they are able to latch onto a bottle or two. The estate is owned by Tony Bowden and Jean Phillips, one of Napa Valley's leading real estate agents. With the help of Heidi Barrett and Gustav Dalla Valle, this operation's debut vintage is the extraordinary 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the greatest young Cabernets I have ever tasted. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered, and aged in 60% new oak.

The original proprietor, Jean Phillips, has moved on, and the new sheriffs in town are Stan Kroenke and Charles Banks who also own the up and coming superstar, Santa Ynez winery, Jonata. A lot is going on at Screaming Eagle as much of the 54-acre vineyard is being replanted, and a new wine cellar is under construction. Production for the following three vintages runs from a low of 400 cases of the 2005, to approximately 800-900 for the 2007, which is their projected target for future vintages. Beginning with the proprietor, Screaming Eagle has an amazing winemaking team in place, including day to day winemaker Andy Erickson, who is backed up by the globe-trotting Bordelais consultant, Michel Rolland.

Under the ownership of Stan Kroenke, this vineyard has been replanted and a new cellar has been constructed. The production of Screaming Eagle has remained between 700-1,000 cases, and a second wine, the Second Flight now "The Flight", includes 520-800 cases. The introduction of a second wine is an attempt to keep Screaming Eagle at its mythical level of quality. This vineyard, situated on the valley floor at the Oakville Crossroads across the road from the Rudd Estate, encompasses 60 acres, but only a small percentage is used for these two cuvees. Based on the three vintages I tasted, it appears the Second Flight wines include much less Cabernet Sauvignon and more Merlot than the flagship Screaming Eagle.

 

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