Aged 20 months in 72% new French oak, this blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc comes from a great vineyard on the valley floor in Oakville, just south of Rudd Estate and Plumpjack. The wine’s dense ruby/purple color is followed by a beautiful, Pauillac-like (think Pontet Canet or Mouton), ethereal perfume of creme de cassis, or as Michael Broadbent used to say, “celestial black currants,” full body, a velvety texture, fine tannins, a multidimensional mouthfeel, and a terrific finish. While there were no real surprises tasting this wine, I was somewhat intrigued by just how youthful the 2004 Screaming Eagle is showing. I had expected it to reveal slightly more evolution. I thought the 13% Merlot in the blend would push the evolution more quickly. The finish lasts for a full minute. As it has been in just about every vintage, the 2004 is a profound wine. It is for others to decide if it is overpriced, but this is undeniably a great wine that competes on the world stage with the best that exist. Rating: 97+
Impeccably balanced, intense and complex, with a mix of savory currant, loamy earth and firmly structured tannins. Tightens up on the finish, where the tannins clamp down, yet the finish is long and persistent.
"A winemaker never, never changes the character of a wine. The character comes from the grapes."
- Michel Rolland, consulting winemaker
Jean Phillips, a former real estate agent, bought the 57 acre Oakville vineyard in 1986 which was planted to a mix of varieties, most of which Phillips sold to various Napa wineries except 1-acre, approximately 80 vines of Cabernet Sauvignon, which she kept for herself. Heidi Peterson Barrett, who became Screaming Eagle's first winemaker, joined the team for the 1992 vintage.
The entire vineyard was replanted in 1995 to three varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet Franc. The 1992 vintage, released in 1995, through a combination of very low production numbers and highly positive reviews (wine critic Robert Parker awarded the wine 99 points), resulted in Screaming Eagle becoming one of the most celebrated and expensive wines in the Napa Valley.
In March of 2006, the estate was sold to Charles Banks and Stanley Kroenke. Kroenke is now the sole owner of the property. The annual production ranges from 400 to 750 cases (between 5,000 and 9,000 750ml bottles). The vineyards are managed by David Abreu. The current winemaker is Nick Gislason with the world-renowned Michel Rolland as a consultant.
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