Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards is a California wine estate producing limited amounts of varietal wine; due to the small quantities produced and high prices commanded, their wines are considered cult wines. The winery is located in Oakville, California, north of the town of Napa in the Napa Valley.
Jean Phillips, a former real estate agent, bought the 57 acre Oakville vineyard in 1986 which was planted to a mix of varieties, most of which Phillips sold to various Napa wineries except the 1-acre (4,000 m2), approximately 80 vines of Cabernet Sauvignon. For this one acre of Cabernet, Philips sought the opinions of Robert Mondavi Winery employees on the commercial potential of her wine before hiring Richard Peterson as a consultant, and subsequently met Peterson's daughter, Heidi Peterson Barrett, who became Screaming Eagle's first winemaker. The entire vineyard was replanted in 1995 to three varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc. The 1992 vintage, released in 1995, through a combination of very low production numbers and highly positive reviews (wine critic Robert Parker awarded the wine 99 points), resulted in Screaming Eagle becoming one of the most celebrated and expensive wines in the Napa Valley.
On March 17, 2006 the estate was sold to Stanley Kroenke and Charles Banks. Phillips disclosed the sale in a letter to Wine Spectator, saying she received an offer she couldn't refuse. In a letter to clients, Phillips stated, "they will renovate old structures or build new ones and replant the vineyard. The new owners have exciting plans to keep it small but raise the bar on quality." Three years later, in April 2009, Charles Banks left Screaming Eagle leaving Stan Kroenke as the sole proprietor. Armand de Maigret is the Estate Manager.
The vineyard area extends 48.21 acres (19.51 ha), planted with varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc , and a small amount of Sauvignon blanc. The vineyards are managed by David Abreu Vineyard Management and tended to by vineyard foreman Jorge Delgado and his team. In 2006 34 acres were replanted. The annual production ranges from 400 to 750 cases (between 5,000 and 9,000 750ml bottles). The winemaker is Nick Gislason and Michel Rolland is a consultant.
eRobertParker.com #215 Oct 2014 Robert M. Parker, Jr. 100 The perfect 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Screaming Eagle is composed of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Made in the classic, iconic Screaming Eagle style that the original proprietress, Jean Philipps, first showcased in the early 1990s, before the winery was sold to Stan Kroenke, the inky/purple-colored, seamless 2012 possesses an extraordinary set of aromatics consisting of pure blackcurrant liqueur, licorice, acacia flowers, graphite and a subtle hint of new oak. Full-bodied, opulent and voluptuous, this profound wine is as prodigious as I thought it would be last year when tasted from barrel. It should age effortlessly for 20 or more years.
It would be easy to criticize Screaming Eagle, the tiny boutique producer, with astronomical prices as well as quality. The vineyard, on the valley floor in the eastern Oakville corridor, sells off significant quantities of wine to others. Their production remains 700 to 1,000 cases, along with 500-800 cases of their second wine, Second Flight. There is something magical about this Oakville parcel on the valley floor just under the looming hillsides of such wineries as Phelps, Bacchus and Dalla Valle’s Maya, and across the street from the Rudd Estate, Plumpjack, etc. Different winemaking consultants, from Heidi Barrett, who was in charge when Screaming Eagle soared to prominence in the early nineties, to the present consultant, Michel Rolland, have maintained the remarkable consistency that makes this wine so special. Articulating that is the critic’s challenge, but there is a purity to the crème de cassis fruit that emerges from this vineyard. There is an aromatic intensity and penetration that is truly world-class, and there is incredible balance as well as complexity in these young wines.
JS: James Suckling
BV: Bidvino Staff
RP: Robert Parker
WS: Wine Spectator
JH: James Halliday
JR: Jancis Robinson
WE: Wine Enthusiast
DM: Decanter Magazine
JD: Jeb Dunnuck
2012 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon
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