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Screaming Eagle: More than the sum of its parts

A trip to California arranged for MWs in late 2018 gave Tim Jackson MW a rare opportunity to taste the component parts of this super-priced wine. Did the finished article live up to expectations?

Screaming Eagle: California’s uber-cult Cabernet, a massive, super-ripe and tannic, 200% new oak, $1,500 Napa fruit-bomb, right?


Screaming Eagle wines sweep away such prejudices with their pure fruit, firm yet elegant tannins, beautifully handled oak and incredible length. These are wines of superb finesse that justify the hype.

Screaming Eagle at a glance:

• The estate was founded by Jean Phillips in 1986. Existing vines were quickly replanted
• Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon was launched in 1995, with 1992 the first vintage, made by legendary winemaker Heidi Barrett
• Second Flight was launched in 2012, with 2006 the first vintage, and is made as a 55-75% Merlot wine, subsequently renamed The Flight
• 25-30% of wines made in any vintage make it into either wine, with the rest sold off
• 500-850 cases of each wine are produced per year. Almost all is sold to mailing list members, with a maximum 3-bottle allocation
• Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 was released to mailing list members at $1,050 per bottle and The Flight at $550

You might also like:

Top Napa Cabernet wines for the cellar

Top California Cabernet 2015 wines: Full vintage report

Comparing Cos d’Estournel wines: 2000 to 2016

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