2019 Screaming Eagle Second Flight, Oakville AVA, Napa Valley, USA

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2018|2019 Screaming Eagle Second Flight

Robert Parker 98
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Vintage: 2019

Country: USA

Region: Oakville

Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards is a California wine estate producing limited amounts of varietal wine; due to the small quantities produced and high prices commanded, their wines are considered cult wines. The winery is located in Oakville, California, north of the town of Napa in the Napa Valley

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Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards is a California wine estate producing limited amounts of varietal wine; due to the small quantities produced and high prices commanded, their wines are considered cult wines. The winery is located in Oakville, California, north of the town of Napa in the Napa Valley

History
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 the 1-acre (4,000 m2), approximately 80 vines of Cabernet Sauvignon. For this one acre of Cabernet, Philips sought the opinions of Robert Mondavi Winery employees on the commercial potential of her wine before hiring Richard Peterson as a consultant, and subsequently met Peterson's daughter, Heidi Peterson Barrett, who became Screaming Eagle's first winemaker. The entire vineyard was replanted in 1995 to three varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and 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. Today the estate's flagship wine retails at an average price of $2,983 per bottle.

On March 17, 2006 the estate was sold to billionaire Stan Kroenke and Charles Banks.[6] Phillips disclosed the sale in a letter to Wine Spectator, saying she received an offer she couldn't refuse. In a letter to clients, Phillips stated, "they will renovate old structures or build new ones and replant the vineyard. The new owners have exciting plans to keep it small but raise the bar on quality." Three years later, in April 2009, Charles Banks left Screaming Eagle leaving Stan Kroenke as the sole proprietor.[7] Armand de Maigret is the Estate Manager.

Production
The vineyard area extends 48.21 acres (19.51 ha), planted with varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a small amount of Sauvignon blanc. The vineyards are managed by David Abreu Vineyard Management and tended to by vineyard foreman Jorge Delgado and his team. In 2006 34 acres were replanted.[1] The annual production ranges from 400 to 750 cases (between 5,000 and 9,000 750ml bottles). The winemakers are Nick Gislason, Robert Black and Michel Rolland is a consultant.

Robert Parker's 98 points

Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 The Flight drifts sensuously out of the glass with the most gorgeous perfume of red roses, kirsch, black raspberries and fresh blackcurrants followed by hints of iron ore, tilled soil, lavender and star anise plus a touch of powdered cinnamon. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a fantastically chiseled structure of ripe, grainy tannins and bold freshness supporting the black fruit and floral layers, finishing with bags of minerals.

“I loved it!” winemaker Nick Gislason told me when I asked him for his thoughts on the 2018 vintage. “Everything is just really perfumey with a lot of verve and a lot of freshness. It’s a wholesome vintage, if that makes sense? The canopies were big and healthy; there was a lot of life in the vineyard. After 2017, it felt like the bloom that comes afterward.”

He went on to say, "We made a little 2017 red. Only four barrels of the Cab! Ten barrels of The Flight. Only from grapes that came in before the fires—mainly Merlot and a couple of blocks of Cabernet."

Whereas Screaming Eagle is mainly sourced from Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the western side of the estate, there is one plot of old Merlot (1980s plantings) on the eastern side of the vineyard that continually makes the backbone of this Second Flight/The Flight. This is planted on very gravelly, well-drained soils. Gislason explained, “The Cabernet Sauvignon for The Flight is always about being fresh, light and perfumey, without the firmer tannins that Cabernet can sometimes give. There is a ‘fresh’ end of the property that this tends to come from. There is some other Merlot on the other side of the property that doesn’t have the acidity, perfume or brightness we’re looking for. We don’t use this in The Flight.”

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