Light and Easy-Going Summer Sipper

Today’s Story: Kapcsándy Family Winery

Kapcsándy Family Winery was established by Lou Kapcsándy and is a small, family owned and operated estate in Yountville of the Napa Valley. An immigrant from Hungary, Lou arrived in the United States in 1956 and worked as a chemical engineer and manufacturer in the Bay Area of California and Seattle. Wine became a focal point for Lou during his successful career thanks to colleagues in the wine business, however his desire to establish his own winery one day came after a visit to Château Leoville Las Cases with his wife Bobbie in 1998. With their son Louis Jr., Lou and Bobbie started searching for property in the Napa Valley when they stumbled upon the 20 acre State Lane Vineyard in Yountville which had been destroyed the previous year by phylloxera. In May 2000, the Kapcsándy family closed on this historic property (it was the source of fruit for Beringer’s Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon) and embarked on massive replanting of the vineyards. They planted the main Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, though also planted several acres to Hungarian Furmint. When the winery was completed in 2005, Lou’s vision was finally realized and both he and Louis Jr. remain highly involved today.

Kapcsándy wines are inspired by Bordeaux both in terms of vineyard management and winemaking style, resulting in lower-alcohol wines made from 100% estate-grown fruit. With both Lou and Louis Jr. active in the vineyards and estate management everyday, Kapcsándy practices sustainable farming with great appreciation for their soil and the environment. The family constructed nesting boxes, perch poles, and songbird houses to avoid the use of chemicals for pest control, and they also add compost to the vineyards and natural fertilizers to supply bacteria, photo nutrients, and trace elements which prove beneficial for vine growth. Further, Kapcsándy plants cover crops between the vines to prevent erosion and encourage beneficial insects to inhabit the vineyards and enhance this natural ecosystem. For more, check out the Kapcsándy website here.

I previously reviewed the 2014 Estate Cuvée and 2005 Estate Cuvée from Kapcsándy.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Furmint

100% Furmint; 13.2% ABV

The 2017 Furmint is pale yellow in color with greenish hues around the rim of the glass. This is an easy-going wine with aromas of medium intensity and a nose that showcases notes of lemon zest, ripe pear, green apple, lychee, honeysuckle, and wet stone. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity and the palate displays notes of green apple, grapefruit, guava, lemon, white florals, and ginger. This dry white is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. Typically 100 or so cases produced.

Price: $30. While this may not necessarily be the most exciting white wine, it’s very high quality and well-made. It’s an easy-going summer sipper that’s fun to try, and is a highly unusual variety to find in the Napa Valley. If you like the Kapcsándy wines, this is worth trying at least once.

Fun Hungarian Furmint for the Explorers

Today’s Story: Királyudvar

Királyudvar (which translates to The King’s Court) is a historic Hungarian wine estate with roots back to the 16th century. Királyudvar is located in the Tokaj wine region which sits about 220 kilometers northeast of Budapest, and the estate previously provided wines to the Habsburg dynasty. The estate as it is known today, however, was “established” in 1997 when American businessman Tony Hwang purchased it following a visit upon which the wines of the estate blew him away. Tony, alongside famed local winemaker István Szepsy, purchased 10 hectares of vineyards around the villages of Mád and Bodrogkeresztúr and reconstructed the château. Over time they expanded to about 75 hectares across the chief vineyards of Lapis, Henye, Percze, Becsek, Danczka, and Nyulászó, all of which are farmed organically with biodynamic practices in use as well. Királyudvar is known for their world-class wines across a range of styles, being highly regarded for dry, demi-sec, sweet, and sparkling wines produced with the native Furmint variety.

Today’s Wine: 2015 Tokaji Furmint Sec

Indicated blend of ~90% Furmint and ~10% Hárslevelű; 13.5% ABV

The 2015 Tokaji Furmint Sec is medium to deep yellow in color with golden hues. The aromas are of pronounced intensity, with the nose showcasing notes of yellow apple, pear, quince, tropical citrus, white florals, honeycomb, wet stone, almond, and mineral. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium (+) intensity and the palate displays notes of lemon, peach, pineapple, banana, elderflower, a hint of smoke, white pepper, dried green herbs, and saline. This dry white is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. This is a very refreshing and delicious wine that was fun to drink.

Price: $28 (I paid $21). This is a very nice value wine that’s fun for the explorers out there who may not be familiar with Hungarian wines or any of their native varieties. What’s more, since most of the Furmint wines I’ve had have been sweet this was interesting to try.