2009 Estate Cuvee State Lane Vineyard Kapcsandy Family Winery

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Average critic rating : 95.0 points



The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Cuvee is pure, seamless and totally beautiful. Hints of chocolate, cloves and gingerbread appear on the nose, followed by rich, deep layers of fruit. There is a baritone-like expression in the 2009 that is striking. Sweet floral notes appear later, adding lift, vibrancy and freshness. In other words, all the elements are perfectly in balance. This is a gorgeous 2009. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029. ||Kapcsandy’s 2009s have developed beautifully over the last year. As great as those wines are, the 2010s are even better. The cold, late-ripening harvest produced stunning wines endowed with tons of energy and sheer power. The estate’s 2011s are equally impressive. I first tasted the 2011s this past spring when the component wines were still separate. I had an opportunity to sample multiple lots across various parcels and aged in barrels from different coopers. It was the kind of technical tasting I wish every Wine Advocate reader could experience at least once, because it is in these types of settings where the passion and attention to detail of an estate truly comes through loud and clear. There are also a few changes to the Kapcsandy lineup. Starting with 2011, the Estate Cuvee is no longer 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots that don’t make it into the Estate Cuvee are considered for Endre. With the 2010 vintage, Kapcsandy is introducing a new Proprietary Blend. 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. Along with his son Louis and consulting winemaker Denis Malbec, Lou Kapcsandy continues to craft exceptional wines loaded with class and pedigree. Every wine in this lineup, from the newly expanded selection of roses, to the flagship reds and the fortified wine is well worth your time. Readers who want to learn more about Kapcsandy may want to take a look at my videos of the 2011 and 2012 harvest posted on our site.||Tel. (707) 948-3100 Wine Advocate.December, 2012

Kapcsandy Family Winery: The Importance

A family affair, the Kapcsandy Family Winery in Yountville is a Napa superstar and has been producing outstanding wine since the early 2000’s, with the vision to create a Grand Cru quality wine. It now represents the benchmark in quality for Napa wine. Robert Parker describes them as "nothing short of remarkable", meanwhile Stephen Tanzer says: “perfectionist Lou Kapcsandy and his talented winemaker Denis Malbec may be making the most extraordinary wines in California today.”


A range of wines are produced at Kapcsandy, including the Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin State Lane Vineyard, a Pauillac-style wine usually containing at least 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, which has been praised by Robert Parker as “a flawless, seamless, profound example of Napa Cabernet.” This wine is one of the stars of this estate, with no vintage of this wine receiving fewer than 90 points when rated by Parker. Although the 2007, 2008 and 2012 vintages received some of his highest scores, all vintages produced are consistently outstanding. This wine is acclaimed by several of the world’s top critics, their only disagreement being on which vintage they love the most. This wine has, according to Parker, “unbelievable richness, great texture, tremendous finesse, precision and delineation” and the wines are typically deep, concentrated and rich.


Kapcsandy also produces a Pomerol-style blend, the Roberta’s Reserve, which usually contains around 90% Merlot. This wine has also been highly praised, the 2013 vintage receiving 100 points from both Antonio Galloni and James Suckling. Their St-Émilion inspired blend of Cabernet Franc/Merlot, Rapszodia, has been described by Antonio Galloni as “towering and majestic from the very first taste”, and combines the power of the Grand Vin with the finesse of the Roberta’s Reserve. The Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Cuvée (listed below as Cabernet Sauvignon State Lane Vineyard) is Médoc-style blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, around a quarter Merlot and a splash of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, and offers a window into this great vineyard. The estate also produces a Bordeaux blend wine at a more approachable price point called the Endre Proprietary Red, as well as a Merlot based port style fortified sweet wine, the Vino del Sol, along with some other excellent white and rosé wines. Unusually for Napa Valley, they neither buy nor sell grapes, and thanks to the quality of the grapes grown and the wine produced, it seems no surprise that Robert Parker would describe this estate as producing “world class wines… [which] seem to combine the best of French savoir faire with the extraordinary ripe, pure fruit grown in well-tended Napa Valley vineyards.”


The wine from this estate is in high demand, and in 2013, at the famous Napa Valley wine auction, one of the wines from this estate achieved the highest price in the whole auction, which shows just how extraordinary the rise of this estate, who had only bottled their first vintage 10 years before, has been.


Kapcsandy: The Insight

The vineyard is planted to approximately 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot with a plot dedicated to the Hungarian white grape variety Furmint. The replanting that took place when Kapcsandy took over the estate was carried out by husband and wife team of specialists Helen Turley (previously of Turley Cellars) and John Wetlaufer. Ever the perfectionist, Lou Kapcsandy hired specialists to interpret satellite data from NASA, in order to calculate the exact angles of sunshine, and the direction of the winds, to work out the optimum orientation for the vines. Wine consultant Denis Malbec who worked at Château Latour was then brought in to help produce the wines, bringing with him years of expertise in Bordeaux winemaking.


The vineyard at Kapcsandy is planted extremely densely, about 4-5 times more densely than is typical for Napa Valley, which means that the vine density resembles that found in Bordeaux First Growths.  This high density planting encourages the vines to produce smaller berries which ensure a higher skin to juice ration which intensifies flavours and aromas, contributing to the concentrated style of the final wines.


In order to achieve the perfect blend at each vintage, the family spend hours blind tasting before embarking on the blending process, this dedication to quality and attention to detail leading Antonio Galloni to say that “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.”


Kapcsandy: The Background

Originally from Hungary, Lou Kapcsandy emigrated to the United States in order to flee the Hungarian Revolution, and set up a construction business in Seattle. Deciding to pursue his passion, he purchased Beringer’s State Line Vineyard, which had been completely ravaged by phylloxera and set about replanting it with the varieties from the region which had most captured his imagination, Bordeaux.

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