2018 Screaming EagleUdsolgt
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Screaming Eagle soars out of the glass with vibrant notions of ripe blackberries, black cherries and fresh red and black currants plus wafts of licorice, candied violets, cedar chest and clove oil with a beguiling touch of sea spray. Medium-bodied with jaw-dropping elegance, the palate is finely textured and yet built like a brick house with a super taut backbone and exquisitely knit acidity. The intense black and red fruit flavors are accented by layers of mineral and floral notions, finishing with incredible length and depth. Undeniably stunning.
“I loved it!” winemaker Nick Gislason told me when I asked him for his thoughts on the 2018 vintage. “Everything is just really perfumey with a lot of verve and a lot of freshness. It’s a wholesome vintage, if that makes sense? The canopies were big and healthy; there was a lot of life in the vineyard. After 2017, it felt like the bloom that comes afterward.” He went on to say, "We made a little 2017 red. Only four barrels of the Cab! Ten barrels of The Flight. Only from grapes that came in before the fires—mainly Merlot and a couple of blocks of Cabernet." Whereas Screaming Eagle is mainly sourced from Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the western side of the estate, there is one plot of old Merlot (1980s plantings) on the eastern side of the vineyard that continually makes the backbone of this Second Flight/The Flight. This is planted on very gravelly, well-drained soils. Gislason explained, “The Cabernet Sauvignon for The Flight is always about being fresh, light and perfumey, without the firmer tannins that Cabernet can sometimes give. There is a ‘fresh’ end of the property that this tends to come from. There is some other Merlot on the other side of the property that doesn’t have the acidity, perfume or brightness we’re looking for. We don’t use this in The Flight.”