Utterly seamless in texture, with great purity and lift to its sappy dark fruit flavors. Finishes with great palate-staining length and perfume. Really remarkably structured, fine-grained merlot with outstanding potential.
Kapcsandy Family Winery, in Yountville, was founded in 2000 when Lou and Roberta Kapcsandy and their son Louis Jr. purchased the historic 20-acre State Lane Vineyard. The vineyard for decades had been the source of grapes used by Beringer Estate to make the much-admired State Lane Cabernet Sauvignon. Phylloxera destroyed the vines in 1999, so in 2001 the Kapcsandys hired winemaker Helen Turley and her viticulturalist husband John Wetlaufer to assess the property. The vineyard was replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Helen Turley made the first vintages in 2003 and 2004. Tony Arcudi is the consulting winemaker today. Lou Kapcsandy’s journey from penniless, European refugee to the founder of a widely admired California winery reads like a movie script. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Kapcsandy fled Hungary after the Russians invaded in 1956. Admitted into a New Jersey refugee camp, he got a job working the night shift at a Brooklyn bakery while completing a degree in chemical engineering. He later served in the U.S. Army and was also a member of the San Diego Chargers professional football team before pursuing his career in petroleum and pharmaceuticals process engineering. He became the head of Baugh Enterprises, a large commercial contractor based in Seattle, before retiring in 2003. The estate’s Cabernet Sauvignons have impressed critics, including Robert M. Parker Jr., who rated the most recent vintages at 100 pts. Parker has complimented the Kapcsandys for their “perfectionist philosophy.”
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.