Screaming Eagle is one of the original Californian "cult wines". Proprietor Jean Philips never dreamt that her wine would be so sought after, when in 1992, after years of selling grapes to Napa Valley wineries, she decided to find out if her home-made wine, created in a plastic trash can, was any good. She took a sample down to Robert Mondavi where they thought enough of her dark, rich, cassis-flavoured Cabernet to encourage her to bottle it, though they snickered at her proposed name. The rest is history.
Screaming Eagle's 100% Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard is ideally situated. The soil is virtually a rock pile on a gentle, west-facing slope east of the Napa River. Drainage and exposure are excellent. The property is at a point in the valley where the weather is hot enough during the day to ripen Cabernet to its optimum, yet the grapes are cooled by the afternoon breezes that blow north from San Pablo Bay.
Only 500 cases a year of Screaming Eagle are produced under the direction of winemaker Heidi Peterson Barret. The resulting wines are brimming with deep, plush layers of flavour, echoing currant, cassis, blackberries and black cherry. The tannins are soft, round and polished, yet firm enough to give every indication that Screaming Eagle wines will age beautifully for 10 to 20 years.