2008 Estate Cuvee State Lane Vineyard Kapcsandy Family Winery

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Average critic rating : 97.0 points



The 2008 Estate Cuvee State Lane Vineyard (68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) is spectacular. In fact, I rated it the same as I did the 2007. A dense ruby/purple hue is followed by a gorgeous bouquet of espresso roast, chocolate, blackberries and black fruits. Full-bodied with extraordinary elegance as well as tremendous texture, intensity and length, this singular wine should drink well for two decades. For those who complain that California wines are too alcoholic, every one of the Kapcsandy wines is under 14.6% alcohol. ||As I have written many times over the last several years, the Kapcsandy estate, which is essentially the old Beringer State Lane Vineyard in Yountville resurrected under the perfectionist philosophy of Lou Kapcsandy, his son, Louis, and wife, Bobbi, is about as good a news story as one can find in Napa Valley. The vineyard, planted with very tight spacing and a north/south exposition by Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer, is impressive in its own right. Yet what the Kapcsandys have done with the fruit from that vineyard with assistance from their consultant, the Pauillac-born Denis Malbec, is nothing short of remarkable. Moreover, they have done it in less than a decade, which proves that fortunes can be made quickly, provided there are three ingredients – incredibly hard work, lots of talent, and a super terroir. These can indeed propel an estate to the stratosphere in less than a decade. The basic second wine of lots culled out from their three top cuvees is called Endre. This is a very good effort as the two most recent vintages suggest. There are three cuvees made from Kapcsandy’s State Lane Vineyard. The Estate Cuvee is generally composed of equal proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blended with tiny amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The Roberta’s Reserve, which is named after Lou Kapcsandy’s wife, Bobbi, is their Pomerol-styled Merlot-based wine that usually contains at least 90% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin State Lane Vineyard is a northern Medoc-styled offering usually containing 85% or more Cabernet Sauvignon blended with tiny portions of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This estate has duplicated their extraordinary success with the 2007s with very great 2008s. The 2009s from the Kapcsandy’s 15.5-acre State Lane Vineyard are the result of a slightly cooler, larger yielding year.||For readers on the mailing list and visitors to the winery, there are several other wines produced. The estate makes a very delicious, dry, deep colored rose from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and the 2009 Rose is another noteworthy example. It possesses much more flavor and body than most roses. Kapcsandy also produces a port-styled wine called Vino del Sol. Slightly lower in alcohol than most ports (17.6-18.1%), to date they have made a 2007, 2008 and 2009. They’re good efforts, but hardly at the exhilarating level of quality of their dry estate wines made from Bordeaux varietals.||Tel. (707) 948-3100; Fax (707) 948-3106 Wine Advocate.December, 2010

A family-owned winery based in Yountville at the southern end of Napa Valley, Kapcsandy is a name synonymous with quality and rarity, producing some of the best yet most difficult to source wines in California. Described by Robert Parker as “Nothing short of remarkable”, Kapcsandy produces between 2,500 and 4,000 cases of wine each year from their 15.5 acres of world class vineyards.

Originally the old Beringer State Line Vineyard, the Kapcsandy estate was purchased by the family in 2000 after phylloxera destroyed much of the original vineyard and it had to be stripped out and replanted. Today, it is renowned as one of the finest wine growing regions in Napa, planted with very tight spacing and a north/south exposure for an ideal growing season.

Chiefly concerned with Bordeaux varietals, Kapcsandy’s Estate Cuvee is composed of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (blended with minimal Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.) The Roberta’s Reserve, meanwhile, is a Pomerol-style blend containing approximately 90% Merlot, whilst the Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin State Lane Vineyard is a Medoc-style offering usually containing 85% or more Cabernet Sauvignon. Some deviation from the Bordeaux line can nonetheless be found across the range, including an aged white labelled Furmint, after the Hungarian grape that hails from the same country at the Kapcsandy family.

A Napa superstar, much of the minimal output is sold direct to those lucky enough to be on the mailing list and this leaves precious little available for the global market. Drawing praise from critics across the board, they are nonetheless wines to seek out wherever possible.

“World class wines… They seem to combine the best of French savoir faire with the extraordinary ripe, pure fruit grown in well-tended Napa Valley vineyards” – Parker

“In all of my travels throughout the world I have met few producers who can match Lou Kapcsandy’s passion and total dedication to excellence” – Galloni

“Perfectionist Lou Kapcsandy and his talented winemaker Denis Malbec may be making the most extraordinary wines in California today” - Tanzer

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