Screaming Eagle Cabernet: A Guide to the Iconic Napa Valley Wine
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most sought-after wines in the world. Produced in limited quantities by the Screaming Eagle Winery in Napa Valley, this wine has earned a reputation for being one of the best Cabernet Sauvignons in the world.
The grapes for Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon are grown on a rocky hillside in the Oakville Appellation in Napa Valley, California. The wine is aged in 65% new French oak barrels for almost two years, which gives it a unique flavor profile. The wine is known for its deep, rich color, complex aroma, and full-bodied taste.
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon has consistently received high ratings from wine critics, and it has been rated as one of the top 10 Napa Valley wines by Wine-Searcher. The wine is also known for its high price tag, with some vintages selling for thousands of dollars per bottle. Despite the high price, the wine has a loyal following of collectors and enthusiasts who are willing to pay top dollar for a taste of this rare and exceptional wine.
History and Background
Founding of Screaming Eagle
Screaming Eagle Cabernet is one of the most sought-after wines in the world, and its origins can be traced back to 1986 when former real estate agent Jean Phillips purchased a 57-acre property in Oakville, Napa Valley. She planted the vineyard with a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, and in 1992, she produced the first vintage of Screaming Eagle.
The winery quickly gained a reputation for producing low-production, exclusive Napa wines. In 1995, Robert Parker awarded the 1992 vintage a "near-perfect" 99 points, propelling Screaming Eagle to cult status. Today, the winery produces only a few hundred cases per year, and its wines are sold through a mailing list and at auction.
Over the years, Screaming Eagle has produced several notable vintages that have received critical acclaim. One of the most famous is the 1997 vintage, which Wine Spectator named Wine of the Year in 2000. This vintage is known for its rich, complex flavors and aromas of black cherry, cassis, and vanilla.
In recent years, the winery has continued to produce exceptional wines. The 2010 vintage, for example, received a score of 98 points from Robert Parker and is noted for its dense, concentrated flavors of blackberry, chocolate, and espresso. The 2013 vintage was also highly praised, with Wine Spectator awarding it a score of 96 points and describing it as "rich and expressive, with tiers of dark berry, mocha, cedar, and graphite."
Screaming Eagle has earned its reputation as one of the most exclusive and sought-after wineries in the world. With a focus on quality over quantity, the winery continues to produce exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon that is highly coveted by collectors and wine enthusiasts alike.
Vineyard and Terroir
Screaming Eagle is situated in the heart of Napa Valley's Oakville Appellation. The Oakville Appellation is known for its well-drained soils and ideal weather conditions that are perfect for growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The vineyard is located on a gentle slope that allows for excellent drainage and optimal sun exposure. The soils in the vineyard are primarily volcanic in origin, which imparts unique characteristics to the grapes. The volcanic soil is rich in minerals and nutrients, which contributes to the complexity of the wines produced.
Screaming Eagle is known for its meticulous viticulture practices. The vineyard is managed with the utmost care, and the grapes are hand-harvested to ensure that only the best grapes are used in the winemaking process. The vineyard is planted with a variety of clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, which allows for a diverse range of flavors and aromas in the wines produced. The grapes are carefully sorted and destemmed before being fermented in small, temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for approximately 20 months before being bottled.
Overall, Screaming Eagle's vineyard and terroir are perfectly suited for producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. The combination of ideal weather conditions, volcanic soil, and meticulous viticulture practices results in wines that are complex, balanced, and elegant.
Screaming Eagle is renowned for its meticulous winemaking process, which combines traditional techniques with modern technology. The winery's commitment to quality is evident in every aspect of production, from vineyard management to the final bottling.
Screaming Eagle's winemakers, Heidi Peterson Barrett and Nick Gislason, are passionate about creating wines that reflect the unique terroir of the Napa Valley. The winery's flagship wine, Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The exact blend varies from vintage to vintage, depending on the quality of the grapes.
The winemakers carefully select grapes from the estate vineyards, which are located in the Oakville AVA of Napa Valley. The grapes are hand-harvested and sorted to ensure that only the highest quality fruit is used in the wine. The winemakers use a combination of traditional and modern techniques to extract flavor and color from the grapes.
Aging and Oak Influence
After fermentation, the wine is aged for approximately 20 months in French oak barrels. The winery uses a combination of new and used barrels to achieve the desired balance of oak influence. The winemakers carefully monitor the aging process to ensure that the wine develops the desired complexity and structure.
In addition to the flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, Screaming Eagle also produces a limited amount of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery's Merlot is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, while the Sauvignon Blanc is made entirely from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The winery also occasionally produces a small amount of Petit Verdot, which is used to add color and structure to the Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
Overall, Screaming Eagle's winemaking process is a testament to the winery's commitment to quality and attention to detail. By carefully selecting grapes, using traditional and modern techniques, and aging the wine in French oak barrels, the winery is able to produce some of the most sought-after wines in the world.
Aroma and Flavor Notes
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is a lush, balanced, and high-quality varietal that exudes elegance and freshness. On the nose, it opens up with a jam-like aroma of cassis, vanilla, and blackberries, with a hint of crème de cassis and dark chocolate. As it breathes, it reveals notes of blueberries, violets, and spice, making it a complex and nuanced wine.
On the palate, the wine is silky and smooth, with velvety tannins that add structure and depth. The flavors are a continuation of the aromas, with a rich and full-bodied taste of blackberry and dark chocolate, followed by a long and satisfying finish of spice and vanilla.
Texture and Finish
The texture of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is rich and velvety, with a full body that coats the mouth and lingers on the palate. The tannins are firm and well-integrated, providing structure and balance to the wine. The finish is long and satisfying, with a persistent aftertaste of spice and vanilla that leaves a pleasant impression on the palate.
Overall, Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine of exceptional quality and elegance, with a complex and nuanced flavor profile that is sure to impress even the most discerning wine connoisseur. Its balance of fruit, spice, and tannin make it a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of dishes, from grilled meats to hearty stews and casseroles.
Ratings and Reviews
Screaming Eagle Cabernet has received critical acclaim from several wine critics over the years. Robert Parker, a well-known wine critic, gave the first vintage of Screaming Eagle Cabernet a near-perfect 99 out of 100 rating, which helped to establish the winery's reputation. Since then, the wine has consistently received high ratings from other critics, including Wine Spectator, James Suckling, Jeb Dunnuck, and Wine Enthusiast.
In recent years, Screaming Eagle Cabernet has continued to receive high ratings from critics. For example, the 2020 vintage received a 99-point rating from James Suckling, who described it as a "unique wine in so many ways." The wine was praised for its "fabulous aromas of cabernet sauvignon with blackcurrants, blueberries, bark, fresh mushrooms and violets" and its "elegance that builds at the finish."
Screaming Eagle Cabernet is also highly sought after by collectors. The wine is produced in limited quantities, with an annual production of approximately 500 cases. This rarity, combined with the wine's consistently high ratings, has made it one of the most collectible and expensive wines in the world.
Despite its high price tag, collectors are willing to pay top dollar for Screaming Eagle Cabernet. For example, a single bottle of the 1992 vintage sold for $500,000 at a charity auction in 2000. This record-breaking sale helped to cement the wine's status as one of the most collectible wines in the world.
In conclusion, Screaming Eagle Cabernet has received critical acclaim from several wine critics and is highly sought after by collectors. Its consistently high ratings and limited production have made it one of the most collectible and expensive wines in the world.
Availability and Purchasing
Mailing List and Distribution
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is a highly sought-after wine that has limited availability. The winery operates a mailing list that interested buyers can join to receive an allocation of the latest vintage. The mailing list is the only way to purchase the wine directly from the producer. The annual production is limited to around 800 cases of 750ml bottles, which makes it a rare and exclusive wine.
Investment and Cellaring
Due to its limited production and high demand, Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon has become a highly collectible wine. The wine has a track record of increasing in value over time, making it an attractive investment opportunity for wine collectors and investors. The wine is known for its longevity and can be cellared for decades. The wine's features include a complex flavor profile, a full body, and a long finish.
When purchasing Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, it is essential to consider the other vintages that are available. The winery has produced several other vintages that are highly rated and sought-after. Some of the other vintages include 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2014. It is essential to do research and compare the different vintages to make an informed purchasing decision.
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is produced in Oakville, Napa Valley, California, by the Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards. The winery is known for its commitment to quality and producing exceptional wines. The winery has won several awards and accolades for its wines, including the Robert Parker 100-point score for the 2010 vintage.
In summary, Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is a rare and exclusive wine with limited availability. The wine can be purchased directly from the winery's mailing list, and it is an attractive investment opportunity for wine collectors and investors. The wine's features include a complex flavor profile, a full body, and a long finish. When purchasing the wine, it is essential to consider the other vintages that are available and to do research to make an informed decision.
Pairing and Serving
Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with a variety of dishes. Its bold and complex flavors complement rich, hearty dishes such as grilled steak, lamb chops, and roasted game meats. It also pairs well with strong cheeses such as blue cheese and aged cheddar. For a vegetarian option, try pairing it with roasted vegetables or a mushroom risotto.
Decanting and Temperature
To fully enjoy the flavors and aromas of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, it is recommended to decant the wine for at least an hour before serving. This allows the wine to breathe and opens up its flavors. The ideal temperature for serving Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is between 60-65°F (15-18°C).
It is important to note that decanting and temperature are crucial factors in enhancing the overall experience of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon. A decanter will help remove any sediment and allow the wine to aerate, which will bring out its full flavor profile. Additionally, serving the wine at the proper temperature will ensure that the aromas and flavors are not muted or overpowered.
In summary, Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is a versatile wine that pairs well with a variety of dishes. To fully enjoy its bold and complex flavors, it is recommended to decant the wine and serve it at the proper temperature.
The Future of Screaming Eagle
Innovation and Sustainability
Screaming Eagle has always been at the forefront of innovation in winemaking, and the future promises to be no different. As the winery continues to experiment with new techniques and technologies, they are also committed to sustainability. From reducing water usage to implementing renewable energy sources, Screaming Eagle is taking steps to ensure that their vineyards and winery remain environmentally friendly.
One area of innovation that Screaming Eagle is exploring is the use of technology to improve their winemaking process. They are currently experimenting with sensors and data analysis to better understand the needs of their vines and optimize their irrigation and fertilization practices. This technology will not only improve the quality of their wine but also reduce waste and improve efficiency.
Screaming Eagle has a rich history and a legacy of producing some of the most sought-after Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines. As the winery looks towards the future, they are committed to continuing this legacy while also adapting to changing consumer tastes and preferences.
One key to the winery's continued success is their partnership with Charles Banks, a renowned wine investor and entrepreneur. Banks has been instrumental in helping Screaming Eagle expand their distribution and reach new markets while also maintaining the winery's commitment to quality and craftsmanship.
Looking ahead, Screaming Eagle is poised to continue producing some of the most exceptional wines in the world while also embracing innovation and sustainability. With a commitment to excellence and a willingness to adapt to changing times, the future of Screaming Eagle looks bright.