Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Certainly 2007 and 2008 are the best back to back vintages at Screaming Eagle since 2002 and 2001. Like the 2007, the 2008 should drink well for at least 20-25 years based on the fact that the 1992, the debut release (which I just had), at age 18 is still an adolescent. Kudos to the winemaking team led by Andy Erickson who is backed up by the blue chip viticulturist David Abreu and the omnipresent Michel Rolland.
James Suckling - "This has a wonderful balance to it. It shows intense aromas of flowers and dark fruits with hints of incense and sandalwood. Changes all the time. Then goes to currants and flowers. Full and firm with a wonderful core of silky tannins that are polished and beautiful. Dark chocolate, vanilla bean, and dark fruit. Solid and firm. You could easy drink this but it has structure for aging as well."
International Wine Cellar - "Dark ruby-red. Aromas of crushed blackberry, liquid stone, licorice pastille, violet and graphite. Wonderfully sappy and energetic, with berry, licorice and stone flavors dominating. This extremely suave, sweet cabernet boasts terrific intensity and precision. Finishes with lush tannins and outstanding persistence. Screaming Eagle will eventually include 10% to 12% cabernet franc, noted winemaker Andy Erickson. Both this vintage and the young 2009 have pHs around 3.7. This wine was a bit disorganized when I tasted it from barrel a year ago but it has turned out splendidly."
The Wine Advocate - "The estate’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon bursts from the glass with considerable richness and pure depth. The spring frosts lowered yields noticeably resulting in a wine that is a bit darker and heavier than is the norm. The rest of the vintage was on the warmer side, which gave the wine much of its ripeness and body. Mocha, espresso, licorice and sweet spices all wrap around the palate. Next to the other wines in this tasting, the 2008 is a bit burly. The mind-bending finesse of the best vintages is missing. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2028."
Wine Spectator - "Offers pure, ripe, perfumed aromas, à la Margaux, with tasty plum, blackberry, cherry and spice in an elegant, understated style. Impressive for its delicacy, finesse, detail and persistence. Drink now through 2022. 680 cases made."
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Screaming Eagle Winery
Screaming Eagle is one of Napa Valley's smallest wineries. The little stone winery is perched on a rocky hillside in the Oakville Appellation overlooking the vineyard planted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wine is aged in 65% new French oak barrels for almost two years. Annual production is approximately 500 cases with most wine sold directly to consumers via a mailing list. The winery's first release was approximately 200 cases of the 1992 vintage. View all Screaming Eagle Wines
About Napa Valley
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.