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James Suckling / Breathtaking aromas of blueberry, wet earth, black truffle, vine bark and lavender undertones. Full-bodied, yet tight and compressed with fabulous savory and dark fruit flavors. It lasts for minutes on the finish. The classicism in this wine is second to none. Incredible subtlety. Lovely austerity. Beauty in simplicity. Glorious to taste, yet a wine for decades ahead. 76% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot, and 11% cabernet franc. 800 cases made.
“First and foremost, I will be perpetuating the fresh, delicate style of wine that has been the Screaming Eagle hallmark since 1992. Across two winemakers before me (Heidi and Andy), that style has stayed remarkably consistent, which is part of the uniqueness of this ranch. The character of the vineyard really asserts itself. What will be new is the discovery of the young vine plots, and the ways that we can farm them individually to get the best site expression possible. It is a winemaker’s dream to be able to truly understand and manage a vineyard acre by acre and spend an enormous amount of time out there with the vines,” Nick Gislason, Winemaker.
One would not say that Screaming Eagle offers value versus price, but like Romanee-Conti it exists in another league. There is so little produced, with most of the production remaining in the US to be consumed domestically, that the global market clammers for whatever it can secure. Screaming Eagle is spectacular wine, a massive, fruit forward beast, with incredible dark fruits and power: it is a wonderful, special and breath-taking wine to drink.
Parker: The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Screaming Eagle is another wine with 100-point potential. The final blend was 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc and 9% Merlot. Its deep blue/purple color reveals even more intensity than the 2012's. Extraordinary precision and freshness characterize this full-bodied, opulent, massive wine that will probably be slightly more closed than the 2012. What a back-to-back pair of vintages! I assume one would have to go back to 2002 and 2001 to find two Screaming Eagles this compelling. The 2013 appears set for 25-30 years of longevity.
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.