10 Things to know about Screaming Eagle

10 Things to know about Screaming Eagle

Considered the absolute “Cult Domaine” from California, this very small domaine was founded in 1986. Here's everything you always wanted to know about Screaming Eagle.

1. What makes Screaming Eagle a cult wine?

In our opinion, a cult wine must meet the following criteria: it is extremely sought after, unique in its kind, of undisputed top quality, pricey, and above all: extremely scarce. Screaming Eagle meets each of these conditions. So we can say that this top wine from the wine house of the same name from Oakville in the Californian Napa Valley is the cult wine par excellence.

2. Why is Screaming Eagle so expensive?

Screaming Eagle indeed produces America's most expensive wine and one of the most expensive wines in the world. The price of the Cabernet is inherent to its cult status and starts at about three thousand euros per bottle at most vendors. If you're on the mailing list and can buy directly from the winery, there are of course different prices, but more about that later. Only between 500 and 800 crates are produced annually; a drop in the ocean in terms of supply when you compare it with the enormous demand from the market. That demand was driven up considerably after Parker immediately awarded the first vintage (the 1992) 99 points in 1995. That Parker is a fan of Screaming Eagle is an understatement. He once described the wine as "the perfect wine" and awarded the perfect score of 100 points several times. So idolate is probably a better word.

3. Can I visit Screaming Eagle?

Unfortunately, the winery keeps its doors fully closed and is not open for tastings. For everyday mortals at least. Of course, this doesn't apply to the aforementioned Parker who, when he was still tasting for his Wine Advocate, was invited to the winery every year to assess the new vintage.

4. How long is Screaming Eagle's waiting list?

The answer to that question is: almost endless. In one of the very rare interviews he gave, the winemaker of Screaming Eagle in 2012 estimated the waiting time to be about 12 years. The good news is that the people who did that back then should have made a lot of progress by now!

5. Where can I buy Screaming Eagle?

Assuming you don't have a place on the waiting list above, you've come to the right place. Best of Wines has several top vintages Screaming Eagle in stock for you. Take a look at our offers and dream away at the thought that one of these bottles could be yours...

6. Does Screaming Eagle have a second wine?

Yes and no. Until 2015 Screaming Eagle made a wine from younger vines called "Second Flight". However, this name was changed to "The Flight" in 2015, mainly because the wine became more and more merlot dominated over the years and the name "Second Flight" could possibly suggest that it was a second-rate wine. And "second-rate" is obviously not a word that anyone would dare to associate with Screaming Eagle. The fact is that The Flight is sold at very different prices (i.e. three digits instead of four).

7. What are Screaming Eagle's best vintages?

The vintages that received the maximum score of 100 Parker points and thus offer absolute perfection in every detail are 1997, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016. But if you unexpectedly get your hands on another vintage, don't hesitate. There are no bad Screaming Eagle vintages, only slightly less perfect ones.

8. Who owns Screaming Eagle?

The famous winery is in fact only very young. In 1986, local Jean Phillips bought some vineyards. It was at the encouragement of Robert Mondavi that he decided, instead of selling his fruit for a decent price, to make his own wines. The rest is history. In 2006, Philips sold his now thriving wine business to businessmen Charles Banks and Stan Kroenke. Allegedly, this was a thirty million dollar deal. Since 2009, billionaire Kroenke has been the sole owner. Kroenke is also the owner of Jonata, the Hilt, Domaine Bonneau du Martray and soccer club Arsenal.

9. Who is the winemaker of Screaming Eagle?

Screaming Eagle's first winemaker was Heidi Patterson Barrett, who nowadays makes the - also cult - wines of Amuse Bouche and is the partner of Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena. Quite a small world, that Napa Valley! The young top talent Nick Gislason has been the winemaker of Sceaming Eagle for several years now. Interesting detail is that Gislason just graduated from U.C. Davis and was only 26 years old when he started at the winery, where he first worked under the wings of Napa's superstar Andy Erickson for a while, but where he is in charge now.

10. Does Screaming Eagle only make reds?

In addition to the two red wines Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon and The Flight, Screaming Eagle also produces a white wine from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Entirely in the tradition of Screaming Eagle, this wine is extremely rare and quite pricey. Only 30 crates would be produced each year, which would also be sold in private circles, with the request not to resell the bottle. Oddly enough, a few bottles of Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc do occasionally turn up. Isn't that a surprise?

Marcel Deiss, au Service des Terroirs
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