Screaming Eagle is the acme of great Californian wine and axiomatically the defining cult wine of the US. It is also the most expensive American wine and arguably the most critically acclaimed, the lack of availability in the market is astonishing. All 750 – 1,000 cases produced annually go directly to the top of a long queue of subscribers. It is nearly impossible to secure older vintages and is globally sought after, therefore it is astronomically expensive. However, their second wine, aptly name ‘Second Flight’ is in fact rarer, producing only 500-800 cases a year.
Today we are delighted to offer you Screaming Eagle ‘Second Flight’ 2012, its greatest ever vintage, scoring 96 points from Robert Parker. It is produced in the same vineyard and with the same care as Screaming Eagle, so much so it is often indistinguishable. In fact the bottle is almost identical, aside from the label being red. In 2012 Screaming Eagle released for £4,900 a case of three bottles, £1633.33 per bottle in bond. Second Flight 2012 today is £2,725 per case of six, or £454.16 per bottle in bond. Screaming Eagle is composed of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Second Flight, however has a higher preponderance of Merlot, with 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc. This gives it a rounder mouthfeel and stylistically is more elegant. It is becoming a favourite of many, who prefer it to Screaming Eagle itself, which is good news as it is 1/6 of the price.
Screaming Eagle is located on the stony valley floor of the Napa Valley in Oakville between the Vaca and Mayacamas 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 make 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 30m dollars. In 2009 Banks left Screaming Eagle and Stan Kroenke is now the sole proprietor. The current winemaker Nick Gislason, formally of Harlan Estate, was officially appointed in 2012 and Michael 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.
Screaming Eagle ‘Second Flight’ 2012, 6x75cl – £2,725 – 96 Pts
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 96 Points
The 2012 Second Flight may be the highest scoring second wine I have ever reviewed. A blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc, it is completely different from the Screaming Eagle since the latter wine is at least 75% or more Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Merlot with only a tiny dollop of Cabernet Franc. The 2012 Second Flight offers up floral, blue and black fruit, mocha and white chocolate characteristics. It possesses full-bodied, silky flavors, and a finish that lasts 50+ seconds. It can be drunk now, but should evolve effortlessly for 12-15+ years. Drink 2014 -2029
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