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Screaming Eagle releases 2016, but 2017 unlikely

The 2016 vintage of Napa Valley super star, Screaming Eagle, has been released to soaring praise and at over £2,000 a bottle, but the 2017 may not be produced due to smoke taint.

The wine was released at US$3,000 (£2,325) a bottle and Liv-ex reported it was quickly being offered for £7,200 per three (so £28,800 per dozen).

Price and demand, as so often, is being driven by a number of factors. To begin with it’s a famous ‘cult’ Californian label made in small quantities which helps drive interest.

In this instance the 2016 has also received some very good scores. Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW gave it a 98-100 range last October and suggested her final score would be at the “upper most end of the range”.

Antonio Galloni thrilled to it too. “Positively stunning,” he said and gave it 100 points.

It’s price is of course expensive but set against the context of its back vintages looks relatively reasonable, being less expensive than the 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2015 vintages which all have 100 points from The Wine Advocate (and which the 2016 may yet get as well) and also cheaper than several other vintages which don’t have as high a critical score.

Furthermore, it was revealed by Perrotti-Brown in her report that smoke taint from the California wildfires of 2017 has prompted the estate to consider not producing either Screaming Eagle or second wine ‘Second Flight’.

Winemaker Nick Gislason told Perrotti-Brown that only a “tiny pre-fire” harvest had been brought in when the smoke descended and once it had passed the estate dropped all the remaining fruit.

He said that any wine the estate might produce from that small harvest, “may not be released at all if it does not meet our quality standards”.

With positive scores and the prospect of no to extremely little stock being released next year, the estate is the one in position to call the shots in the here and now.

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