Screaming Eagle is the acme of great Californian wine and the defining cult wine of the US. It is also the most expensive American wine and arguably the most critically acclaimed, the lack of availability in the market is astonishing. Today we are delighted to be able to offer the 2014 vintage of this hugely sought after wine. 2012 and 2013 are tough to follow, but the 2014 vintage has done that in style. Tim Fish of the Wine Spectator calls it ‘a dream vintage, with quality along the lines of 2012 and 2013.’ Antonio Galloni says, ‘Napa Valley delivered another exceptional vintage in 2014. The wines are bright, energetic and focused, with tons of character and pedigree’. James Suckling believes ‘It’s a year that proves Napa is now entrenched in a new era of classicism’, while Robert Parker states ‘I thought this was a very good to excellent vintage when tasting from barrel, but I now have to rate it now as another superlative year based on how the wines showed from bottle.’ As such it comes as no surprise that Screaming Eagle has received a very similar score to the 2013, with 97 points from both Robert Parker and Antonio Galloni and 99 points from James Suckling. This is a great vintage of Screaming Eagle.
Screaming Eagle is extremely investable on release, rising in price quickly. In fact, since 2015 the last five vintages have risen in price an average of 45%. This performance is echoed in older vintages, but more compelling still is the vintage premium it displays, as demonstrated below. Screaming Eagle is one of the most acclaimed and sought after iconic wines in the world. Yet with only 800 cases made a year, there is not enough for the domestic U.S. market, let alone Europe and new markets. Today’s price of £4,700 per case of three bottles offers superb upside, particularly considering the equal scoring 2013 already trades at £5,600. We expect to sell out quickly on release, with secondary market trading beginning right away. As always, our release price will be the sharpest in the market.
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A little background on the mythical Screaming Eagle
Screaming Eagle is located on the stony valley floor of the Napa Valley in Oakville between the Vaca and Mayacamas mountains. Oakville AVA is considered as one of the premier wine appellations in the world and known for producing superb Bordeaux varietals. The Estate was originally purchased by owner and founder Jean Phillips in 1986 who appointed Heidi Barrett (wife of Bo Barrett from Montelena) as her winemaker. She bottled her first vintage in 1992, subsequently releasing it in 1995 when it was awarded 99 points by Robert Parker: overnight it became the most celebrated wine in California. Phillips replanted the 18 hectare vineyard with Cabernet Sauvignon (which generally dominates the assemblage), Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot making the wine a true Bordeaux blend.
Phillips sold Screaming Eagle to Charles Banks and Stan Kroenke in 2006 for an undisclosed sum, rumoured to be $30m dollars. In 2009 Banks left Screaming Eagle and Stan Kroenke is now the sole proprietor. The current winemaker, Nick Gislason, formally of Harlan Estate, was officially appointed in 2012 and Michel Rolland is consultant Oenologist. Under the stewardship of Stan Kroenke the vineyard has been replanted and a new cellar has been built. He has introduced a second wine called Second Flight which produces 550 to 800 cases per year, it is a premeditated attempt to solidify Screaming Eagle’s Romanee-Conti-esque legendary status.
Screaming Eagle 2014, 3×75, £4,700 IB
97 Points, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
The 2014 Screaming Eagle is an 880-case blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. The telltale sign of this iconic wine is its extraordinary purity of crème de cassis fruit, which is displayed abundantly in the 2014. It doesn’t quite have the structure and mass of the 2013, but this sexy, up-front, opaque ruby/purple-colored wine is seamlessly constructed, full-bodied, and has a long finish with silky tannins. This seems to float across that palate with that great fruit purity that is a characteristic of Screaming Eagle. Drink it over the next 25+ years.
99 Points, James Suckling
Extremely perfumed with blackberries, currants and flower. Rose petals, too. Seductive. Medium to full body. It grows on the palate with an extremely long finish that goes on for minutes. The tannins are ultra-fine and polished. Purity and essence to this. Feminine yet wild and unpredictable. Available in March. Better in 2021.
97 Points, Antonio Galloni
The 2014 Screaming Eagle looks like it is going to need a good few years at a minimum to really show its true colors. Although Screaming Eagle can be quite seductive in its youth, there is little of that in 2014. Virile and imposing, the 2014 possesses tremendous depth and equally formidable tannins. Graphite, gravel, smoke and herb notes give the 2014 its persistent, mineral/savory-infused profile. Screaming Eagle is less affected by its recent bottling than Second Flight. Still, I would not plan on opening a bottle anytime soon.
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