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2019 screaming eagle, cabernet sauvignon, oakville (750ml)

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Why We're Buying

Fine wine does not get rarer or more desirable than this. Screaming Eagle is the ultimate cult cab, with its mind-blowing finesse and unrivaled class. While the Judgment of Paris elevated California wine to the global consciousness, it was Screaming Eagle that took the region’s reputation to stratospheric heights in the mid-90s. It’s why an imperial bottle of the debut vintage sold for a world record $500,000 at auction in 2000. The 2019 Screaming Eagle marks another epic chapter in this wine’s already storied history. Wine critic Antonio Galloni praised it as “simply magnificent from the very first taste,” noting a panoply of red and purple fruits, wildflowers, orange zest, leather, tobacco, and graphite. Meanwhile, Jeb Dunnuck compared the grand vin to the 2016 vintage, which earned multiple perfect scores from critics. Anyone with the good fortune to encounter this wine shouldn’t hesitate to invest. The Final Sip: Screaming Eagle is the archetypal California cult cab and the 2019 vintage reminds investors why.

Critics Scores


James Suckling

Lots of crushed berries, such as raspberries and blackberries, with spearmint and crushed stone, as well as redcurrants. Full-bodied with regal tannins that build on the palate as you taste it and flow over like a gentle waterfall. Such a beautiful, subtle and graceful texture. Best after 2027.


Jeb Dunnuck

The Grand Vin 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is reminiscent of the 2016, and possibly the 2014, with its beautiful balance, purity, and straight-up class. Offering remarkable purity in its crème de cassis, wildflower, spice, lead pencil, and tobacco-like aromas and flavors, it’s medium to full-bodied, has flawless balance, and building, silky tannins. It’s a thrillingly complete, classic Screaming Eagle that won’t hit maturity for another 7-8 years and I suspect will have 40 to 50 years of overall longevity.

Region Summary

Napa Valley’s meteoric rise began in 1976 when it upset Bordeaux and Burgundy in a blind tasting. The victory vaulted Napa into superstardom, cementing it among the most prestigious wine regions in the world. Today, Napa’s cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays - with their mountain of 100-point ratings and limited production - represent the new frontier for fine wine.

Why We're Investing

With all due respect to other New World wine regions, none are more investment-worthy than Napa Valley. Part of that is Napa’s idyllic climate that winemakers consider a Goldilocks zone for viticulture. Part is the cutting-edge winemaking culture devoid of centuries-old rules and regulations. Most of all, though, Napa Valley proved that great wine can come from anywhere, not just Europe. That epiphany occurred on May 24, 1976. Two wine merchants had set up a blind tasting that pitted top California red blends against blue-chip Bordeaux and California chardonnays against white Burgundies. Up until this point, no one thought that Old World wines had an equal in the New World. But when the scores were tallied, Napa Valley proved victorious. This watershed moment shifted the fine wine world on its axis. It thrust Napa Valley into the global spotlight and set the stage for the future broadening of the market. As wine historian Oz Clarke put it: “California was the catalyst and then the locomotive for change that finally pried open the ancient European wine land's rigid grip on the hierarchy of quality wine and led the way in proving that there are hundreds if not thousands of places around the world where good to great wine can be made.” Napa Valley parlayed that success into a cult wine revolution. Pioneers like Joseph Phelps, Dominus, and Harlan Estate began producing small-batch wines (fewer than 600 cases per year) with feverous demand. Add in 99 and 100-point scores from top critics and word-of-mouth hype, and prices for these cult cabs reached stratospheric heights. No winery better exemplifies this trend than Screaming Eagle. The unassuming Oakville estate was largely unknown outside Napa Valley until 1995. That year, wine critic Robert Parker awarded the debut vintage a 99-point score, transforming it into an instant cult icon. A few years later, Screaming Eagle’s inaugural vintage sold for a then-world record $500,000 at auction.

What's the Latest

Watch out. Napa Valley is on a roll. The region has strung together multiple exceptional vintages, most notably in 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2018. The fine wine markets have reacted accordingly. Over the last five years, Napa Valley ranks as the third-best-performing wine region, narrowly edging Italy (47.2 to 45.9). That upward trajectory is still going. The Liv-ex California 50, an index that tracks top regional wines, reached new all-time highs in 2021 and 2022. Napa Valley has enjoyed rising prices thanks to its expanding distribution network. In 2004, Opus One became the first Napa Valley wine to distribute exclusively via La Place de Bordeaux - a renowned system of merchants that sells the most in-demand wines worldwide. Since Opus One’s debut, others like Inglenook and Joseph Phelps have joined the fold, helping Napa reach a global audience while boosting sales for La Place merchants. Meanwhile, California has seen its share of the secondary market grow from 0.1 to 7.1 over the last decade. That’s the highest percentage of market share of any region outside of France or Italy.

Looking Forward

The secret to Napa Valley’s future may lie in its past. A number of wineries are taking inspiration from the Old World with classic, terroir-driven wines as opposed to hedonistic behemoths meant to appease select critics. Some Napa Valley estates like Dominus, Opus One, and Pym Rae even have French owners, allowing consumers to truly enjoy the best of both worlds. Napa Valley’s secret weapon is the terroir itself. The region has 16 American Viticultural Areas that contain half of the world’s soils, making it more diverse than any other investment-grade wine region. This viticultural playground stretches from windswept flatlands to gentle rolling hills to rugged mountains, giving producers boundless creative freedom to make the next great American wine.