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News

The launch of the latest vintage of Screaming Eagle has aroused a certain amount of interest.

Clients of Amphora Portfolio Management who bought the 100-point-scoring 2010 have made very good money, and for the last year or so people have followed up with purchases of the 2012 which also scored a maximum 100-points.

An interesting feature of this pair of perfect Cabernet Sauvignons is that the 2012 trades at a 20% discount to its elder sister. That, of course, is a pricing anomaly. Investors should be adding the 2012 if they feel comfortable about the market, or at the very least switching out of the 2010 into the 2012.

The 2013 has earned a creditable 97+ points from Robert Parker. When he first tasted it in October 2014 he raved about it thinking it could match the 2012. His initial rating was 98-100, the spread being consistent with an en primeur tasting.

A year later he firmed up his score to 97+ adding: “This reminds me somewhat of the 2010 Screaming Eagle. Full-bodied, rich, but perfectly balanced, it’s another terrific example of this iconic estate. It should drink well for 30 or more years.”

We might therefore expect a discount to the 2012 to account for the rating differential, but in the early market showing the pricing seems much the same.

Something is therefore out of kilter. Either the 2010 is priced correctly, in which case the cheaper 2013 is probably the right price, making the 2012 look very cheap, or the 2012 is the right price, making both the 2010 and the 2013 look unjustifiably expensive.

If you think the 2013 is priced for a subsequent upgrade to 100, which would be unlikely, it having been tasted as recently as last October, the 2012 is still the banker having already achieved that rating.

 

These considerations also beg the question: what place ‘trophy wines’ in a diversified portfolio?

A trophy wine is a wine which seems not to observe the pricing rules which apply to the rest of the market, whether this results from tiny production and the resulting immediate scarcity, amazing marketing, or a producer achieving a cult status for whatever reason.

The issues in respect of trophy wines are twofold. Firstly, given their relative scarcity, is there an adequate secondary market to offer sufficient liquidity should an investor want to sell?

Secondly, is the price so high that it compromises the desired balance in a fine wine portfolio, by becoming too dominant a feature? In other words, to what extent is the risk profile affected by the inclusion of a highly-priced and potentially more illiquid component?

The answers partly depend on the scale of the investment, in absolute monetary terms. It is difficult to be definitive in this market place, but if Amphora’s client base is anything to go by, a £100,000 portfolio would be somewhat higher than the average.

Even at that level it is worth acknowledging that you can have a very well balanced portfolio of about 25 different wines from around the world covering a variety of sectors and vintages, which would be considered ideal from as risk-weighted perspective, or you could have a single case of DRC 2001, which would not.

 

In such a portfolio what exposure to the ‘trophy sector’ would be permissible, or advisable, if you still wanted to retain some control of risk?

The way to think about this still revolves around the investor’s pain tolerance threshold, because if you have 20% exposure overall to a wine which goes down 30%, then clearly you have to make up the 6% performance hit elsewhere. That doesn’t seem too bad, even if undesirable! If, however, you have 50% exposure and it goes down 30% then that “undesirability” in investment terms veers towards the unacceptable.

At Amphora Portfolio Management our advice to clients is never to exceed that 20% figure if you are looking to retain a coherent degree of balance and risk. And this is where you can argue that producers like Screaming Eagle have done their bit. They market their wares in cases of three bottles.

Given the vital importance of provenance and storage to the fine wine investor, it is helpful for a wine to be sold in an ‘Original Wooden Case’ (OWC), and happily in the case of most trophy wines, these come in three packs as well as six and 12. Indeed, top flight Burgundies can arrive in a single bottle OWC. Many DRCs, of course, cost around £10,000 a bottle, so you really need to be investing upwards of £50,000 if you are keen to include one.

When investing there is no real need always to buy full cases. What you want is levels of financial exposure on a diversified basis. One bottle of DRC costing £8,000 is exactly the same in fine wine investment exposure terms as six bottles of Petrus costing £8,000 and 12 bottles of Latour costing £8,000.

 

 

Beginning with the 2010 vintage of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon and Second Flight Red Wine all bottles have been applied with a bubble coded security system which enables the verification of authenticity. This label is placed between the foil and the bottle creating a security seal that cannot be detached without the seal and foil being visibly damaged.

If you have questions or are having trouble with authenticating the bottle please call 707.944.0749.

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History

The Screaming Eagle is the world’s most spoken about cult wine. In 15 short years, the wine, produced in miniscule quantities in a shed in Oakville, has become a wine lover’s ultimate dream to taste. It is not just its rarity that makes this wine taste different to others. It is the charmingly refined style that makes Screaming Eagle so appealing, with its satiny tannins, vivid acidity and very sophisticated fruitiness. It is not a big blockbuster wine with overextraction. Instead it is an opulent and refined wine that not only drinks well when young but also has great ageing potential. 

Historical backround: One of the most respected real estate brokers in Napa Valley, vineyard founder Jean Phillips had brokered deals for people such as Bill Harlan, the Araujos, and the Dalla Valles, among others. When she stepped on to the Screaming Eagle property in the 1980s, she knew instantly this was a magical place and that she had to have it. The rest is history. Current owner Stanley Kroeknie has invested heavily in site reconstruction, as well as in plantings and the winemaking team. Credit must also be given to former partner Charles Banks, as it was he who assembled the new team, which includes David Abreu and Michael Rolland – the former coming in as the vineyard consultant. The 2009 was the the last harvest vinified in the old facilities. The current winemaker is Nick Gislason, Marc Gagnon is the Enologist and the world renowned Michel Rolland is a consultant.

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Vineyards

The terroir Located at the foot of the Vaca Mountains in Oakville, the vineyard has a multilayered soil composition that is rich in iron. The well-draining volcanic rock mixes well with clay, ensuring the right balance of stress for the vines. The daily cooling fog influence helps the grapes to keep their freshness. “I believe these red, volcanic soils produce some of the most compelling Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc-based wines in the world.” former winemaker Andrew Erickson adds. 

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Winemaking

Philosophy in winemaking “The goal is to bring out the terroir, and the natural qualities of the fruit. As I described, the natural freshness and elegance in wine are two defining features that I want to highlight, along with the richness and minerality.” Andrew Erickson states and adds: “Most of the work that takes place is done in the vineyard; getting the appropriate crop load, the right amount of sun on the fruit, and picking when the fruit is properly ripe, and not too ripe. In the winery we try to let the wines evolve naturally while taking great care to retain the fruit character in the wine. In the end, the vineyard should be what shows, and not the hand of the winemaker.” Erickson emphasises

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Inside information

Screaming Eagle ’97 Reaches Almost $4,000 a Bottle at Acker Sale 

A single bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon from the California grower’s 1997 vintage, its most expensive since 1992, sold for $3,936 at a New York sale this month as demand for rare wines pushed prices higher.

The lot was sold through Acker Merrall & Condit on Oct. 5. A bottle of the same vintage cost $3,690 at an Acker sale in June, $3,485 in both April and September and $3,198 in February, according to the auction house’s online data.

The focus of investors and collectors has switched away from Bordeaux lately, buoying demand for older vintages and rare wines from regions including Burgundy, the Rhone and California. Prices of top Bordeaux wines on London’s Liv-ex declined during the past seven months following a muted investor response to the 2012 vintage and reduced Chinese demand reflecting a crackdown on spending by officials.

“Screaming Eagle has become one of the iconic wines,” Acker Chief Executive Officer John Kapon said in a telephone interview. He said auctions are reflecting an “active healthy market with a lot of strong prices.”

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, a benchmark for top Bordeaux wines, has fallen 6 percent since mid-March after gains of 8 percent in the first 10 weeks of this year, leaving it up less than 2 percent since the end of 2012.

Hamptons Sale

The vineyard producing Screaming Eagle is in Napa’s Oakville district and prices reflect both high scores from critics and small production levels, according to data on the website of the Antique Wine Company, a London-based broker, which describes it as “one of Napa Valley’s most famous ‘cult wines.’”

The estate’s first vintage dates back to 1992, and its wines are sold by mailing list only, limited to three bottles per client, and to selected restaurants, according to Antique Wine Company. There is a waiting list to join the allocation pool for the wines, according to Screaming Eagle’s website.

The lots of Screaming Eagle 1997 sold through Acker in recent months included three bottles which sold for $11,070 at an auction in Bridgehampton, New York in June, two separate three-bottle lots which sold in New York in April and September for $10,455 and a single bottle which sold in New York in February for $3,198, according to Acker’s online archives.

At the Acker auction in New York earlier this month an eight-bottle collection of Screaming Eagle spanning the years 1996, 1998 and every vintage between 2001 and 2006 sold for $14,145 while three bottles of the 2007 wine sold for $7,995, according to Acker data.

The 1997 Screaming Eagle is the estate’s most expensive wine after the inaugural 1992 vintage, while the 2007 is the highest priced of the past 10 years, according to merchant data tracked by the London-based Liv-ex market.

U.S. wine critic Robert Parker assigned a perfect 100-point score to Screaming Eagle wines from both the 1997 and 2007 vintages, according to data on the eRobertParker.com website. 

By Guy Collins

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Last evening was a real " Voyage autour du monde" along with the top 24 wines that wine countries can offer, and there was only four of us enjoying them...Unfortunately, quite a lot of bottles remained half empty, but not the Petrus 2003, Cheval Blanc 1947, Screaming Eagle 1999, Pingus 1995, Haut-Brion Blanc 1995, Lafleur 1996 etc.

5m 26d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  27 wines 

A Taste of Greatness -tasting with perfect wines like Martha's Vineyards 1974, Harlan 1994, Sassicaia 1985, Pingus 1995, Yquem 1899 etc.

7m 1d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Pro (China)  tasted  18 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Screaming Eagle 2010 - 100 points / A beautiful vintage for Screaming Eagle that brings together the best of this wine's complexity, elegance and depth. The wine is seamless from beginning to end starting off with layers of gorgeous, intense flavors that are in balance with the firm, velvety tannins and wonderful freshness. Flavors unfold gently, without obvious power or opulence, offering layers of mocha, incense, blackberry and savory spices. Incredibly long finish. This is a perfect Screaming Eagle.

8m 28d ago

 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  10 wines 

“A joyful blind tasting with some super wines! Screaming Eagle 1999 was immensely delicate and harmonious with lovely intensity. Côte-Rôtie La Mouline from super vintage 1978 was so energetic and charming that I'd have liked to give it even 101 points! Pétrus 1929, DRC Montrachet 1990 and Pol Roger 1947 hit the high scores as well - all were so charming. Some of the most surprising experiences were wines from "off-vintages" like La Tache 1935 and Troplong Mondot 1904!!! Both were in great condition. ”

1y 5m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  13 wines 

“An evening at home with friends and amazing wines like Petrus 1929, Yquem 1921, Pol Roger 1947, DRC Montrachet 1990, Screaming Eagle 1999 etc...best wine was Guigal La Mouline 1978 / 100 points / Perfect bottle. Decanted for two hours. Lovely bright garnet colour. The nose reveals sound and open aromas of violet, cinnamon, spices, olive and game with some toasty new oak nuances. This wine has innumerable layers of graceful yet fully ripe fruit, creating a harmonious interaction of already quite soft tannin and fresh acidity. Excessive weight and extension in the mouth. There is a perfect balance between all the elements, followed by velvety-textured wine's finish lasts for over a minute This one of the most concentrated La Mouline is already very drinkable, and will easily last through 2030 given suitable cellar conditions.”

1y 6m ago

 Michel Jamais, Wine Writer (Sweden)  tasted  1 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  9 wines 

“When I first heard of the white wine from Screaming Eagle, I was quite surprised. Although I know that some parts of Napa Valley can produce world class wines from Sauvignon Blanc (or at least, as good as a wine from Sauvignon Blanc outside Bordeaux can be), I couldn't imagine that Screaming Eagle would ever make one.

"Well, when we studied the vineyard, we knew we had to replant it in a much better way, we couldn't just continue to make the wine in the same way as Jean Phillips and her winemaker Heidi Peterson-Barrett did, we had the worlds eyes on us", he said to me a few weeks ago.
"And we found a spot in the northwestern corner of our vineyard, that I found to be much better suited for Sauvignon Blanc than Cabernet Sauvignon or Franc, and Merlot actually doesn't perform very well in our vineyard", he added.
The Sauvignon Blanc grapes were never intended to be a commercial wine, if they ever should make it themselves, and if so, I was to be used for PR tastings and dinners, and as a giveaway.
But with the 2010 vintage, the now sole owner Stanley Kroenke, decided to sell it on the mailing list. It's now even more rare and sought after than the red Screaming Eagle. And it is of course the talk of the day since very people have tasted it, or even seen a bottle or a picture of a bottle. ”

1y 7m ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  28 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  28 wines 

“The world´s most complete Screaming Eagle tasting with all the vintages and all the wines, even the very rare Sauvignon Blancs were tasted.
The average point of all wines and vintages were 94.1 points. Full report in Germany, you´ll find on wineterminator.com.”

1y 7m ago

 Screaming Eagle  has news

The launch of the latest vintage of Screaming Eagle has aroused a certain amount of interest. Cli  more ...

1y 7m ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  2 wines 

“Tasting the latest Screaming Eagle vintage with winemaker Nick Gislason at the winery.
Screaming Eagle 2013 / Moderately intense, ruby red colour. Although the complex nose shows rich spicy aromas of cloves, cinnamon and hints of licorice, it is naturally still closed. On palate the wine shows greatness in its density, concentration and vibrancy with immense balance and elegant structure. Vivid acidity is shining through the long lingering finish with tobacco, cappuccino and floral tones. Aristocratic wine with time.”

1y 11m ago

 Toshi Nakamoto, Sommelier (Japan)  tasted  1 wines  from  Screaming Eagle . In a tasting of  12 wines 

“Colgin IX Proprietary Red Estate 2010 / Full 100 points / An intense, purplish ruby red colour. Extremely concentrated and stylish spicy nose, dominated by oak. Notes of ripe blackcurrant, fruitcake and coffee. Big and sophisticated structure comprised of medium acids, strong powdery ripe tannins and ripe berry. Long finish with undertones of spicy aromas, chocolate and coffee. Highly integrated alcohol in the mid-palate emphasised almost to the point of distraction at the close. All in all, an elegant vintage, with excellent tannic and acid structure. The current lack of intensive fruitiness means there is not a great deal of hope for long maturation potential. The wine's freshness does not do justice to the wine just yet, though. This beauty will improve within a few years and reach its perfection in an estimated ten years. ”

2y 3d ago

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