Celebrated Californian wine Screaming Eagle is a Napa Valley grand cru, not a cult, according to the winery's general manager.
In a rare visit to the highly secretive Oakville producer reported in September’s issue of Decanter, Adam Lechmere discovers that the c-word’s connotations of excess don’t sit well with general manager Armand de Maigret.
‘No-one calls us that [a cult] any more,’ de Maigret insists. ‘We’re a grand cru – a Napa first growth.
‘Cults are wines that show the winemaker’s hand. But here it’s not the winemaker making the wine, it’s the place.’
Meanwhile, winemaker Nick Gislason – previously with Craggy Range and Harlan Estate – reveals some of the secrets behind Screaming Eagle, a highly scarce and hugely expensive wine which releases a maximum of 800 cases of wine a year.
‘The best Merlot typically comes from the gravelly east end of the property, and it’s very atypical in character for Napa Merlot,’ explains Gislason.
‘On that site, it picks up amazing floral characters and minerality, and seems to have a spirit that lies somewhere between the minerality and perfume of Bordeaux, and the richness of Napa.’
Written by Richard Woodard