The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, which I loved last year, has gotten even better, something I saw across the board with the bottled 2005s (a superb year for Bordeaux varietals). This blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc was aged in 67% new French oak for 21 months. It possesses a gorgeous, Pauillac-like bouquet of cedar, creme de cassis, licorice, smoke, and earth as well as sweet tannins, full body, fabulous layers of fruit, a noble sweetness, and outstanding length. This 2005 can be drunk now or cellared for 25+ years.
As I wrote last year, original proprietor, Jean Phillips, has moved on, and the new sheriff in town is Charles Banks, who also owns the up and coming superstar, Santa Ynez winery, Jonata. A lot is going on at Screaming Eagle as much of the 54-acre vineyard is being replanted, and a new wine cellar is under construction. Production for the following three vintages runs from a low of 400 cases of the 2005, to approximately 800-900 for the 2007, which is their projected target for future vintages. It will be interesting to see if the $750 a bottle price holds up given the global economic crisis. Certainly, there is no doubting the quality. Beginning with the proprietor, Screaming Eagle has an amazing winemaking team in place, including day to day winemaker Andy Erickson, who is backed up by the globe-trotting Bordelais consultant, Michel Rolland.