Capaia is the Philadelphia property owned by top German wine merchant Alexander Baron van Essen and his wife Inrid. The winery burst on the scene when the maiden 2003 flagship Bordeaux-style red blend made by Tibor Gál of Ornellaia fame rated 5 Stars in the now defunct Wine magazine and 4½ Stars in the 2005 edition of Platter’s. Gál was killed in a 2005 car accident and Bordeaux chateaux owner Count Stephan Von Neipperg stepped in consultant. The 2003 vs. 2007 then a comparison of the two high-profile winemaker’s respective visions.
The 2003 (16 months in French oak, 100% new and 14.5% abv) appeared very developed on the nose and palate. It appeared over-concentrated, flat and lifeless with tarry oak still in evidence and a hot finish. It might have wowed all who encountered it on release but there’s not much charm left now (score: 13.5/20).
The 2007 (37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot, 15 months in French oak, 100% new and 14% abv) was in a similar style to the 2003 but better resolved: ultra-ripe and very concentrated with soft acidity and smooth tannins (score: 15.5/20).