1996 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #995568 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 ...reveals lots of structure, an opaque purple color, and the hallmark blackberry and cassis liqueur-like notes. Silky-textured, fabulously-concentrated, and gorgeously-balanced, it has every component part - acidity, alcohol, tannin, and extract - flawlessly presented. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2020. (RP)  (1/2000)

96 points Wine Spectator

 Sharply defined, this hits all the right notes, with ripe, supple, seductive and detailed plum, berry, cherry, floral and spice flavors woven together. Picks up mineral, cedar, tar and anise on the long, elegant finish. (JL)  (11/1999)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated ruby-red color. Complex aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, currant, marzipan, licorice and honeysuckle. Very rich and dense, but quite tightly wound; cassis, mint and tobacco flavors blossomed with aeration. Very long, firmly tannic finish. This wine was lusher and more expressive after 24 hours in the recorked bottle, showing a roasted coffee bean quality, with no loss of shape or freshness. Screaming Eagle has been remarkably consistent in recent vintages, and is one of a relative handful of California cabernets that conveys a strong sense of site specificity.  (12/1999)

Jancis Robinson

 Mid crimson. Very sweet brushwood and very ripe sweet fruit on the nose. A completely different idiom from the red bordeaux I have just been tasting, but good balance and certainly not too heavy or alcoholic. A certain fragrance and gentle appeal. Great kick of super-clean fruit on the finish. This would be difficult to place blind, I would have thought, since it has so much more elegance than most Napa Valley Cabernets. It is still very much alive. In fact, it's still quite tight. Vindication of this property's relatively subtle style. (18/20 points)  (12/2009)

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Price: $3,499.99

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.