About Screaming Eagle
Screaming Eagle is an icon of the global fine wine scene. Every oenophile knows it, but so few have been fortunate enough to sample it that tales of its complexity, power and purity are mere hearsay to many.
As recently as 1986, Jean Philips and Tony Bowden purchased a 48-acre vineyard in the heart of Oakville, planted with an inconsistent mix of varietal vines. For a number of years, Philips sold her fruit to neighbouring Napa wineries with both the winemaking facilities and knowledge which she herself lacked. Who else could have identified the potential of this terroir, the quality of the grapes and the exciting possibility of an estate bottling than the grandfather of Napa himself – Robert Mondavi...
Mondavi played matchmaker to perfection when he introduced Philips to winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett. The inaugural vintage of Screaming Eagle in 1992 – a name regarding which the great Mondavi had expressed severe scepticism – was released to critical acclaim in the form of 99 points from Robert M. Parker Jr. Catapulted into the collective consciousness of the most discerning fine wine lovers the world over, Philips took a well-deserved retirement in 2006 when she sold the now mythical estate, leaving it firmly atop the pyramid of truly great producers having surpassed many centuries-old châteaux and domaines in less than three decades.
Despite its relatively small size, Screaming Eagle’s brilliance lies partly in the staggering variety of soils and therefore terroir found within its borders. Rocks, gravel, loam and clay are all found in varying ratios across its vineyard, as well as microclimates differentiated by those plots subject to the cooling breezes of the San Pablo Bay and those East-facing vines subject to radiant Californian sunlight.
Of all the fabulous wineries throughout the Napa Valley, Screaming Eagle is perhaps the single most deserving of the epithet “cult”. At barely 48 acres under vine, Screaming Eagle is the single smallest estate winery in Napa. Rarely opening its doors to visitors of any sought, its farming techniques have even been the subject of vinous espionage over the years! Finally, one need only mention its name to those with an interest in fine wine to understand how pervasive the desirability and prestige of this gorgeous wine is amongst its acolytes and admirers alike.