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September 27, 2019

New Release – Screaming Eagle The Flight 2016, 3×75, £1,950, 99 Pts

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As our coverage of the 2016 Napa vintage continues, we are thrilled to be able to offer Screaming Eagle The Flight 2016 which has just released in the US. Screaming Eagle is the acme of great Californian wine, it is also the most expensive American wine and the lack of availability in the market is astonishing. We released Screaming Eagle 2016 in February and it has risen 30% since our offer. Only 750–1,000 cases are produced annually, however, their second wine which was aptly named The Flight is rarer still, producing only 500-800 cases per year.

Since 2015 they have rebranded and what used to be Second Flight is now called ‘The Flight’ an homage to the fact that it is one of the finest wines in Napa in its own right. Indeed, the 2016 is the greatest Flight ever made. Its scores are in line with Screaming Eagle itself, awarded 97+ from Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate, 99 from James Suckling and 98 from Antonio Galloni, each their highest ever score. We are delighted to be able to offer it today for £1,950 per case of three, a 5% discount to the trading price of the 2015, which is lower scoring. Over the next few months we expect Flight 2016 to trade in line with the 2015.

Flight differs from Screaming Eagle in composition; in 2016 it is 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. It is fashioned centrally around Merlot, made of old vines which come from the Southwest of the Estate. As such, it is a brilliant companion to Screaming Eagle both plusher and more succulent, in fact Perrotti-Brown’s tasting note captures perfectly how expressive the wine is, ‘notions of wild blueberries, warm plums and boysenberries with touches of black raspberries, spice cake, violets, dark chocolate and potpourri with a hint of menthol.’

Screaming Eagle is located on the stony valley floor of the Napa Valley in Oakville between the Vaca and Mayacama mountains. Oakville AVA is considered as one of the premier wine appellations in the world and known for producing superb Bordeaux varietals. The Estate was originally purchased by owner and founder Jean Philips in 1986 who appointed Heidi Barrett (wife of Bo Barrett from Montelena) as her winemaker. She bottled her first vintage in 1992, subsequently releasing it in 1995 when it was awarded 99 points by Robert Parker; overnight it became the most celebrated wine in California. Philips replanted the 18 hectare vineyard with Cabernet Sauvignon as the dominant grape in the assemblage, which along with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot makes the wine a true Bordeaux blend.

Philips sold Screaming Eagle to Charles Banks and Stan Kroenke in 2006 for an undisclosed sum, rumoured to be around 30m dollars. In 2009, Banks left Screaming Eagle and Stan Kroenke is now the sole proprietor. The current winemaker Nick Gislason, formerly of Harlan Estate, was officially appointed in 2012 and Michel Rolland is consultant Oenologist. Under the stewardship of Stan Kroenke the vineyard has been replanted and a new cellar has been built.

One of the first actions taken by Kroenke was to introduce a second wine, Second Flight, a premeditated attempt to solidify Screaming Eagle’s Romanee-Conti-esque legendary status. Second Flight’s debut vintage was the 2006, which released in 2012. The Wine Advocate immediately scored both this and the 2007 94 points. Like Screaming Eagle, each bottle has a bubble coded security system which allows the consumers to immediately verify the authenticity of this prized possession.