Screaming Eagle is California's original and most sought after cult wine in the world. Produced in tiny quantities from a small vineyard in Napa's Oakville appellation, the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine regularly sells for upwards of $3000 plus a bottle and is America's most expensive regularly produced wine.
Jean Phillips established the vineyards in 1986, and set about selling fruit to local producers in Napa. After a few years, the decision was made to set up a winery, and the first vintage of Screaming Eagle was released in 1992. Robert Parker rated this first vintage at 99 points, and cult status was sealed – since then, the 1997 and 2007 vintages have achieved the coveted 100-point rating from the famous wine critic. Sales are done from the winery through a mailing list, which has been full since 2000 – and there is a waiting list several thousand names long.
Screaming Eagle's vineyard lies within the Oakville AVA in the southern part of Napa Valley. It is planted mainly to Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and a small plot of Sauvignon Blanc. Screaming Eagle's second wine, Second Flight, is made from the vineyard's younger vines, and a white wine, the Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc, was introduced in 2012. Although sold initially for $250 a bottle in 2012, this wine quickly reached astronomical prices on the secondary market as well, up to 10 times the release price.
In 2006, Screaming Eagle was famously sold to Stanley Kroenke and Charles Banks for an undisclosed sum, rumored to be upwards of $30 million. Nowadays Kroenke owns Screaming Eagle outright.
95 RP - Performing much better than it did last year, the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot; 680 cases produced) also possesses extraordinary intensity. Fragrant aromas of loamy soil interwoven with classic creme de cassis, incense and licorice are followed by a big, full-bodied, dense, rich, long, slightly more masculine wine than the 2007 with more prominent tannins than in the seamlessly built 2007. The 2008 is another fabulous Cabernet Sauvignon from this magical sector just south of the Oakville Crossroads. RP Screaming Eagleâ€™s vineyard has undergone a major replanting (35 acres were replanted in 2006). Today, there are only 15.5 acres of the original plantings that made this property so famous. The potential size of 54 acres will certainly increase production if it all turns out to be as high in quality as what has existed in the past. The superstar winemaking team of Andy Erickson, Michel Rolland, and viticulturist David Abreu has been in charge over recent vintages. RP