Screaming Eagle can simply be described in a few words: exclusive, sought after, and superb. Unique qualities make it so desirable that its waiting list is almost endless.
In 1986, the real estate specialist Jean Philips bought the property and founded Screaming Eagle. In its early days, she sold its grape crops while gradually moving into the world of winemaking. Years later, the expansion grew by leaps and bounds. In 1992, Jean Philips decided to bottle her Cabernet Sauvignon rather than sell the grapes to other wineries. Her first vintage was awarded an almost perfect score of 99 points from the prestigious wine critic Robert Parker.
It is located in Napa Valley, the most famous wine region in the United States. Although it is best known for its prodigious production of Cabernet Sauvignon, growing conditions are favorable for a wide range of grapes, from warm-climate varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc to cool-climate varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Screaming Eagle is in the perfect location. It is located on a rocky, west-facing hillside, where conditions are ideal. The temperature is high throughout the day, favoring Cabernet ripening.
Napa is very welcoming to the growing waves of wine-tasting tourists. But not when it comes to Screaming Eagle. The Napa Valley Conference and Visitors Bureau won’t provide a street address. The location of the vineyards is practically a secret, as even the locals in the region do not provide anyone with their address. The winery keeps its doors completely closed and is not open for tastings, which is part of the mystery surrounding the brand. The winery’s founder, Jean Phillips, never opened a tasting room.
Its wines are iconic because they are extremely coveted, unique in their kind, of unquestionable top quality, and above all: very scarce. Their reduced production means that only a lucky few can enjoy them. They have a waiting list to get on the distribution list which is about 4,000 names. Ms. Phillips resorted to common practice for cult wines: she only sold to people on a mailing list, with a limit of three bottles a year. The list filled up in 2000. She closed the waiting list after thousands of people had signed up.
In 2006, Philips sold its now-thriving wine business to entrepreneurs Charles Banks and Stan Kroenke. Since 2009, billionaire Kroenke has been the sole owner. Despite the change of ownership, the brand has continued to maintain a low profile and reduced production, guaranteeing its quality and exclusivity. They produce between 500 and 600 cases a year, sold through a very select allocation list. This very limited production and the passion it arouses among lovers of good wine, make Screaming Eagle an object of desire.
In 2006, Screaming Eagle winery created a second wine, “Second Flight “. A merlot expression of Screaming Eagle, meant to be consumed younger than Screaming Eagle. The name was changed to “The Flight” in 2015, especially since the wine was becoming a more prestigious merlot over the years and the name “Second Flight” might suggest that it was a second-rate wine. Which, obviously, is not a word anyone would dare associate with Screaming Eagle.
In addition to these two red wines, they also produce a white wine with Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Following the Screaming Eagle tradition, this wine is extremely rare and quite expensive. Only 30 cases are produced per year, which are also sold in private circles, with the request not to resell the bottle. It is the most expensive Sauvignon Blanc in the world, a mere 30 cases made each year and sold privately ‘in-house’ and to a few loyal fans of Screaming Eagle. Stands out from other US Sauvignon Blanc with its purity and precision. High-toned and gorgeous texture, fresh peach, Mosel-like acidity, a touch of new oak, and wonderful intensity and length.
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