Today marks the release of Kapcsandy Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin State Lane 2016. The 2016 vintage in Napa is – as James Suckling says – an outstanding vintage for reds with the 2016, making it the fifth top year in a row.’ However, it marks the end of drought vintages, making it different from those that precede it. Indeed, it began with heavy rainfall in Autumn, the perfect relief of the drought status in the region. A cooler than average August saw the grapes ripen gradually, resulting in wines which display excellent freshness, higher than average acidity, balanced and superb complexity. Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate says, ‘I believe 2016 to be the best, most consistent Napa Valley vintage among a string of five great years: 2012-2016.’ 

This is of course incredible praise. Undeniably, having awarded 26 perfect 100 point scores to red Napa in 2016, Perrotti-Brown has written an article where she reflects on bestowing this much perfection. She compares the 2016 Napa vintage to Bordeaux 2016, a great vintage for Bordeaux Blends. She posits that in terms of production (not style) Napa has more in common with Burgundy than Bordeaux, the vineyard land divided in a way Bordeaux is not. In 2016 she tasted 2,000 Napa top wines, vs 800 in Bordeaux, further concluding that in Napa ‘nearly 80% of the wineries produce less than 10,000 cases and most of their “Grand Vin” equivalents equate to less than 1,000 cases in a vintage.’ Napa also has many estates that produce less than 500 cases. The inference is poignant, if the Bordeaux First Growths were subdivided like Napa, they each could create several 100 points individual wines, rather than one which produces 15,000 to 30,000 cases. Apropos the Beckstoffer’s Dr. Crane vineyard produced three small production perfect scores. This is sound logic and paints a picture of Napa proper, with many producers fighting over small parcels, for a market that leaves little remaining for the rest of the world. Bordeaux relies on international markets, Napa is dominated by domestic consumption.

We have released several 2016 Napa wines; however, we will now focus a campaign on the must buy perfect wines of the incredible 2016 vintage, we start today with Kapcsandy Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin State Lane 2016, which has a double 100 point score from The Wine Advocate, with Perrotti-Brown calling it ‘Sex in a glass’. Jeb Dunnuck also awards it 100 points calling it ‘A perfect wine and a legend in the making.’  It is priced today on release at £1,110 per case of three. This price is superb as highlighted by the table below. The average trading price of recent 100 point vintages is £1,375, a 24% premium to the first tranche release price today. This is a future hall of famer and will quickly adjust to the trading price of other 100-point wines. Indeed, with only 425 cases made for the entire globe, a first tranche allocation is highly sought after.

Kapcsandy CS Grand VinWAPrice (3x75cl)

The story of Kapcsandy is described as a classic American one. In 1956 Lou Kapcsandy fled Hungary, following the brutal assault of the Soviet Army during the Hungarian revolution. Lou eventually settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, thereon marrying Roberta Henson and settling in Seattle, Washington in 1973 with their son Louis Jr. Lou began work as a chemical engineer and his love of wine blossomed. He began socialising closely within the wine community, sourcing the finest French wine from a group of professionals and entrepreneurs, many of whom would become the early icons of the Washington State wine industry.

In 1998 the family visited Bordeaux and an afternoon with Michel Delon at Leoville Cas Cases set them on a path which would lead to their own truly great winery. On returning Lou and Bobbie began planning their own vineyard and researching plots. In March 2000, they returned to Bordeaux to taste the 1999 vintage and launched an import business. Then in January 2000 they came across a 20 acre parcel vineyard, which had been ripped out after Phylloxera had destroyed it in 1999. Moving swiftly that summer they closed escrow on this plot, which was the former Beringer Estate State Lane vineyard that had been the home of the Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon program. The family replanted the entire vineyard site into 15 blocks, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. However, before setting rootstocks they seeded the entire field with safflower-mix, thereon tilling the dirt to encourage and invigorate nutrients. In 2005 they completed a state-of-the-art winery.

The family are self-proclaimed francophiles and Lou compares the wines to Pauillac and Pomerol, focusing on the classic Grand Cru Old World style, rather than the paragon of the Napa wines. In fact, they employed the wine consultant Denis Malbec formerly of Chateau Latour, who sadly died in April. Their aim was to constantly produce wines of ‘First Growth’ quality. It is noteworthy that the vineyard is planted 4-5 times denser than the average in Napa Valley; 2,640 vines an acre compared to an average of 660. This again was a nod to the First Growths in Bordeaux who plant around 6,500 – 7,000 vines a hectare. This higher density planting produces smaller berries, with a higher skin to pulp ratio, focusing the intense flavours and aromas. Each wine has a distinct character, a unique achievement considering that 100% of the grapes come from the contiguous vineyard sited in Yountville in the heart of the Napa Valley.