Kapcsandy – Interview in the Cellar


[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everybody. This is Cyrus Hazzard with Total
Wine and More and I’m lucky today to be sitting in with Lou
Kapcsándy here in your cellar. When I look around it, it’s
a great smattering of wine, but it’s definitely
Bordeaux influenced. I’m assuming that’s really
where your love started. Yes. But, by the way, welcome Cyrus
and thanks for being here. Yeah, Bordeaux is my
favorite wine region. It was the very first
fine wine that I was introduced to after– I’m a, happy to say,
graduate of Thunderbird and Ripple days when
I was in the military. And in 1964, a friend of
mine, in San Francisco, introduced me to the
1961 Léoville Las Cases, so what a way to get started. Right. That’s an amazing wine. So you’ve started
collecting then and now, you’ve amassed
over– this cellar holds what, 20,000 plus? The cellar is designed
to hold 20,000 bottles. The main cellar, which
is where we’re sitting, is where we hold the wines that
are younger than 1971 vintage. The temperature is
kept at 55 degrees. And then, we have a cellar
within a cellar, a smaller room where we keep the wines
that are older than 1971. And the oldest bottle
we have in there is an 1874 Chateau Lafite a
1905 Margaux, 1900 Lafite, 1918 bottles, 1928 and so forth. And we keep the temperature in
there about 45 degrees or lower because those wines do
not need to age anymore, they need to be preserved. Everything here that
people don’t realize, but if we were to look
at this particular slab, it actually holds two
bottles back to back. That’s why we’re able to stack
in all these 20,000 bottles. We are currently probably
holding around 17,500. I was never a
collector, don’t think about myself as a collector. Even the ’61 Léoville Las
Cases, I’ve purchased four cases of the wine. That was the very
first bottle of wine that I bought of any fine wine. So you can imagine
the story of my life is I just purchased more wine
than I could ever consume. And, at one point, we actually
had a total bottle count of 26,000 bottles. Wow. We have sold off 7,500
bottles in various auctions and contributed wines to
various charitable functions. So it was still– 17,000 bottles will
put you in the range of drinking a bottle
a day for 20 years, 10 years, something like that. If I’m blessed to
be around that long, I suppose a bit
longer than that. But my son is into
fine wines himself. Of course, why wouldn’t he be? He never tasted a bad
bottle of wine in his life. I know. He developed his palate on
the best Bordeaux wines. And I’m not a big follower
of any particular ratings or classifications, I basically
taste wines and if I like them, then I’ll pursue
them and purchase it. The only bottle of wine I bought
blind was the ’61 Léoville Las Case. That’s a good way to start. Well, interestingly enough,
my family, my wife and I are very, very close
friends with Michel Delon. He was the patriarch
of Léoville Las Cases. He’s the one that
actually encouraged us and helped us to get
into the import business. And every year that we
would visit Bordeaux, he would insist that we
come up to Chez Julien and have a lunch. And his lunch, in general,
would last about five hours. And he would go into a cellar
and pull up any vintage from time to time and lunch that
was just absolutely stunning. Wow. That’s lucky. Yeah, and we’re maintaining
a friendship with his son now because Michel passed away. So Jean-Hubert, his son,
and his family and my family continue to be good friends. I’m not particular about either
Cabernet Sauvignon driven wines from the left bank or
Merlot from right bank. It’s just whatever I like. And that’s really what
it should be about. It’s not about scores,
it’s about your taste. And when that
experience, over time, understanding what mature wine
tastes like versus young wine and being able to
see whether they’re going to go a distance of time. Where did you learn to do that? Again, it started basically
back with the ’61 Léoville Las Cases, but I’d been buying Vega
Sicilia for a long, long time. Probably the first purchase
I made was a 1970 vintage. So you spent a lot of
time in the Seattle area, and when walking around, I
see a lot of Quilceda Creek and I see some very, very
old wines I’ve never seen. Chateau Ste Michel
and stuff that– well, just it’s
really surprising to see older bottles from them. How did you collect those? Well, we moved to Seattle
in 1974 and left in 2003, so I became familiar
with Galitzine wines from Quilceda Creek
early on when he started. In fact, I knew him
as a chemical engineer when he was at Scott Paper
in Everett, Washington and we used to do some
business together. And I like the wines. I think they’re well crafted,
they do age very well. So you enjoy them. And on the lineup here, you have
a lineup of fallen soldiers, as I call it. The bottles that you’ve consumed
that are from very unique, older vintages. How do you decide
when to open that? Is there like, an everyday
wine and then a barometer that allows you? It says, all right,
well, now it’s time to bring something from
out of the lockbox that’s even deeper at 45 degrees. My encouragement
for that is my son. He’ll look them over
and he’ll say, hey, dad, whether it’s his
birthday or my birthday or my wife’s birthday
or anniversaries or just even a nice holiday. Fourth of July– I
mean, I’m blessed with freedom in this country and
hopefully that will continue. We just open just a nice bottle
of wine, old vintage and just to celebrate. And nothing is
sacred, any bottles we can open anytime we want. You can open them
anytime you want. The main thing is that I
want him to enjoy it with me. I don’t want him
to take the bottle and take it home with him. He can’t take it, he has
to share it with you. That’s a good motto. That’s a great motto. Well, thank you,
Lou, for your time. I appreciate you showing
me around the wine and sharing your cellar with us. Well, thanks for being here. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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