Screamingly High Prices

Following on from last week’s focus on Pomerol, we extend the topic of super-premium pricing to one of Napa Valley’s most iconic ‘cult wines’, Screaming Eagle. The taste profile of these wines differs significantly as Screaming Eagle is always upwards of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, however their production is limited to around 750 cases per annum and in a short space of time they have established a firm reputation for exceptionally high scoring wines.


The resulting prices are not dissimilar to those of Le Pin and Petrus, with the most recent vintage, 2011, offering the lowest price point at SFr 1’600 per bottle in bond. In contrast, the highest price is the first vintage, 1992, with a market price of nearly SFr 70’000 per dozen. We explore if the exceptionally high prices of Screaming Eagle can exhibit the same price stability as observed in Pomerol, despite the low trading volumes.



The mean market price across all of Screaming Eagle vintages has barely moved during the past twelve months, although for individual years there has been significant volatility with some wines losing nearly 20% and last year’s 100-point release, 2010, making 60% gains. The vintages which have moved very little during this time, 2001 and 2002 for example, sit close to the mean market price of back-vintages at SFr 32’500.


The 2011 has been in the market since February and has made 11% in that time, or nearly 40% on an annualised basis. The caution with 2011 is the ‘low’ 91-94 score range from Robert Parker, although this is not mirrored by Antonio Galloni, who offered both the 2010 and 2011 ranges of 95-97 points. The 2012 on the other hand has already received praise from Parker, with a range of 96-100 points that makes its release next year look appealing. Production continues to rise as the replanted vines come of age, and the 2012 purportedly was made into 700-1000 cases with the second wine made in 500-800 cases: despite the relative ‘leap’ in supply, the market will soon be asked how broad the consumption segment of this market is, and if it can continue to support these secondary market prices from an investment perspective?


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