Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
Screaming Eagle remains one of the most compelling estates in Napa Valley. The winery is now under full control of Stan Kroenke. Consultant Andy Erickson is no longer involved in the property but his protege Nic Gislason appears to have the passion and talent to take things to the next level, as impossible a task as that may seem given the profound quality of the wines here. In addition to the wines formally reviewed, I also tasted several components of the 2010s that were absolutely gorgeous and a bottle of the 2007 which was flat-out great. OK, that is an understatement. It was utterly profound. But those weren't the most interesting wines I tasted. Those honors go to the several tanks of 2011 Merlot I sampled during the harvest. Why? Because Screaming Eagle is one of those very rare properties where the bottled wine captures the fullest essence of the fruit just as it tastes at harvest, and that is very, very rare.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Screaming Eagle is insanely beautiful. It is a relatively open vintage that nevertheless possesses stunning intensity, depth and elegance. Dark red berries, flowers, mint and spices are all woven together beautifully. Layers of fruit build effortlessly to the long, seductive finish. The 2009 continues to flesh out in the glass. All of the elements are in the right place in the drop-dead gorgeous, stunning 2009. A haunting bouquet reminiscent of a great Musigny lingers on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029. 98+."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Once again, the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon pays homage to the 2007, but the aromas and flavors seems to be just a touch brighter, which might just be a function of the wine's age. A wine of remarkable precision, the 2009 is totally dialed in from start to finish. Layers of intensely sweet, perfumed fruit are woven together with remarkable elegance and sheer polish. Today, the 2009 isn't quite as radiant as it has been in the past, and seems headed for a stubborn phase. It is still striking, though. Even if a bit less exotic than the 2007, the two wines share a silkiness and overall sense of textural finesse. A translucent, weightless finish rounds things out in style. The 2009 is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot. "
Wine Spectator - "A stunningly seamless effort, rich and elegant, this delivers perfumed currant-cassis aromas that are supple and graceful, building and gaining with subtle tannins, laced with loamy earth. A dash of black licorice marks the long finish. Drink now through 2028."
International Wine Cellar - "Deep medium ruby. Aromas of blackberry, licorice and stone show a youthfully medicinal quality. Displays sweet fruit on entry, but this is more like a tightly coiled spring on the mid-palate, conveying a distinctly imploded character today. Densely packed, juicy and spicy wine with a firm tannic spine and terrific length and lift. This very powerful wine, which appears to have more seed tannins than the 2008, will need a good decade of bottle aging upon release. 95-97 points."
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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 granted 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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