100 Point California Cult Wine - Bryant Family

"So poised, so classy, so Bryant."

100 points for Bryant Family 2016 - Lisa Perrotti-Brown for RobertParker.com

Nothing says, "Happy New Year" to the wine lover on your list, like a 100 Point California Cult Wine! A member of the original class of Cult Status Cabernet alongside Harlan and Screaming Eagle, Bryant Family produces prodigious wines known for their exceptional concentration, balance, and velvet-like textures. These wines live up to their venerable reputation!

But what is a “cult wine,” exactly?

While some winemakers dislike the term, it has come to encapsulate three main things: scarcity, high prices and quality. Many consider Napa Valley the birthplace of the cult wine phenomenon, and so its most famous grape, Cabernet Sauvignon, comprises many of the world’s most sought-after cult wines. 

The byproduct of a group of viticulture super-stars, Bryant Family was started by Don Bryant and Helen Turley in 1992. Since the inaugural vintage, the estate has been working with the acclaimed David Abreu as vineyard manager and Michel Rolland as consultant oenologist. Arguably one of the greatest winemakers of all time, Turley was with the estate from 1992-2001 and turned out world-class wine during the entirety of her tenure.

For those of you looking to drink and SHARE, consider the Robert Parker 99 Point 1996 Bryant Family! Happy, Happy New Year!

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The 1996 Vintage Bryant Family

"The wine from this hillside vineyard near Napa's Pritchard Hill, has already become mythical (1992 was the debut vintage). This is a wine of world-class quality, and is certainly as complete and potentially complex as any first-growth Bordeaux." Robert M. Parker, Jr. ,December 1998

Don't Miss these 100-Pointers

"Composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon entirely from the Pritchard Hill estate and aged in 90% new oak, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is deep garnet-purple colored and has a disarmingly profound red roses and red and black currant nose with wild blueberries and yeast extract accents plus tapenade, tilled soil, subtle exotic spices and pencil shavings and the faintest waft of lavender. The palate is ethereal in its weight with a medium to full-body supported by firm yet perfectly ripe, grainy tannins structuring the tightly wound savory layers and leading to a very long, fragrant earth finish. So poised, so classy, so Bryant." Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018

2016 Bryant Family | RP100

"Aromas of blackberries and gunpowder with some graphite and black licorice. Tile, too, with some conifer and cedar. Complex and enticing. Full-bodied with polished tannins that build on the palate and coat and caress every millimeter of your mouth. Encompassing and balanced mouth feel. A classic beauty. Really tells where it is from! Great estate red. 600 cases. Try after 2027, but already a joy to taste." James Suckling, September 2021

2018 Bryant Family | JS100

"The opaque purple-colored 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon offers a spectacular, exotic bouquet of Peking duck skins, blackberry and cassis liqueur, roasted herbs, and burning charcoal. It is phenomenally intense, with record levels of dry extract and glycerin. This hedonistic blockbuster is crammed with jammy fruits nicely buttressed and framed by adequate acidity and tannin. Drink this marvelous Cabernet Sauvignon now or cellar it for two decades. This is mind-boggling stuff!" Robert M. Parker, Jr., December 1998

1996 Bryant Family | RP99

Napa’s Cult-Like Following
In 2008, a billionaire purchased six magnums of Screaming Eagle’s 1992 Cabernet Sauvignon for $500,000. Only 225 cases of the wine were ever made and it’s among the most coveted brands worldwide.

But Screaming Eagle’s team never set out to make a cult wine.

According to Heidi Barrett, Screaming Eagle’s original winemaker, the brand didn’t really exist in its current form when she began working there. She’d been making wine down the hill at Dalla Valle and the owners gave her a directive: “Go help Jean [Phillips, the founder of Screaming Eagle] make wine,” she says. “It was a no-frills, pay-by-the-hour situation.”

In 1992, Barrett made 175 cases of Screaming Eagle. Phillips sold that Cabernet blend at Napa’s famed Oakville Grocery, and it was on the list at Bistro Don Giovanni.

But they also gave a lot of it away.
When the owners of Screaming Eagle began entering the wine in local competitions, however, the kudos began to roll in.

As whispers of how good Screaming Eagle was grew in volume, Phillips priced the wine at $75, an unprecedented move at a time when high-end domestic wines often maxed out at about $50. That led a friend, unbeknownst to Phillips and Barrett, to give the wine to Robert Parker to review. He initially gave it 99 points. However, after sitting with it for a while, he rescinded the score and re-scored it at 100 points.

Some wondered if this sudden success was a fluke. But Screaming Eagle became globally renowned, and its success catapulted Heidi Barrett into the spotlight as one of the most respected consulting winemakers in the world.

Around the same time, another winery producing a sought-after Cabernet blend, Harlan Estate, was emerging in Napa. Unlike Phillips, Harlan Estate founder Bill Harlan deliberately set out to create a notable wine, one that he calls a “California First Growth” of grand cru quality.



About Grand Cru Liquid Assets

Grand Cru Liquid Assets is a wine brokerage firm that specializes in buying and selling pristine condition rare, collectible, and investment grade wines. We deal mainly in Napa cult wines, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and other rare wines that are only available through mailing lists. We are recognized for our personalized white glove service as well as our commitment to building relationships with our clients.