Are you still looking for the albatross or this white eagle?
Well, you may have more chance of spotting the former as we now officially know now that California’s most expensive wine is a white wine and is made from no less than pure Sauvignon Blanc. The cat is finally out of the bag thanks to two grande dames of the wine literary world, namely Jancis J and Jeannie Cho L. Both of their tasting notes are printed below for your enjoyment, as I guess you will never get the chance to taste the Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc, from Oakville, California.
Of course this wine is at number one, top of the list of America’s most expensive wines. Annoying as that might be. Annoying because it is ostensibly sold in its tiny quantities to a mailing list, who then return it gleefully to the secondary market, making this not just the most expensive wine in Napa, but the most expensive Sauvignon Blanc on ‘earth’. It missed out last year because of a lack of sufficient vintages, but it’s back and it’s average price has swollen savagely in the past two years – a rise from U$3.706 in 2016 to U$6.421 today represents a 73 percent hike, despite a slight increase in availability.
100% Sauvignon Blanc planted in 2006 on land deemed unsuitable for red wine grapes. Aged in two used barrels. Pale greenish straw. This smells really quite rich as well as pungent – even figgy. Big and bold in the Napa idiom but with lots of well-integrated acidity too. Lightly smoky on the nose, which had a suggestion of blackcurrant leaves about it. Definitely too powerful to drink without food. It reminded me a bit of Araujo Sauvignon Blanc. Sufficient tension for the medium term. J.R.
This is a lively, fresh wine that stands apart from many other Napa Sauvignon Blancs because of its purity and detailed, lifted flavors. Lovely passion fruit and fresh herbs on the palate with nervy acidity offering great freshness. This wine was made since 2010, but in tiny volumes – just 25-30 cases per year just for fun. Only 10-15% new oak is used and aged typically for 9 months in older barriques. Wonderful length and good intensity for a mere ‘house white wine’ that is not sold in the market. J.C.L.
We, here in the engine room @ WWC SA, have been following the rise and demise of the said SE SB for several vintages now, since the first one anyway. And for some strange reason still have a bottle or two tucked away up there in the ‘bonded warehouse’ should you want to throw up to five thousand dollars in my direction for each bottle. The wooden case (as in photo*) is also still available, free of charge, should you want to take a bite of this bird.
Ah! Well a-day! What evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the albatross
About my neck was hung. S.T.Coleridge