2010 L’Aventure “Optimus” Estate, Proprietary Red, Paso Robles.
Stephan Asseo’s L’Aventure winery is one of the most intriguing estates in California, let alone Paso Robles and his wines have a noble richness and depth that would make many a Napa winemaker jealous, and his countrymen back in Bordeaux. I have enjoyed most every vintage of Stephan’s remarkable wines, though I admit I have missed the last couple, so it was wonderful to get a chance to taste his latest efforts and again his talents show through as does the terroir of his vineyards. Asseo is from Pomerol and was a Bordeaux winemaker before pursuing the American Dream, moving lock, stock and barrel to the wilds of Paso Robles, this transition was a huge culture shock for him and his family, but they have since thrived in their new home and his wines show his happiness and passion in full glory. I remember his very first offerings, a beautiful and stunning Zinfandel, but I remember laughing at the high price, scoffing and moaning, but he has made it all work, especially since his own vines have come into full maturity and that his chosen cepage are now in the blends. He makes a Rose, Roussanne, Cote a Cote (Grenache, Mourvedre & Syrah) Estate Cuvee (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot) Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and this red blend called Optimus, which is also a unique cuvee of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. The 2010 Optimus is opulent and thick with gobs of rich, dense fruit all wrapped in sweet French oak, and while hedonistic this wine shows fine balance and finessed details somewhat like Chateau Anglus or Pavie from Saint-Emilion, but clearly a unique wine that stands alone. The nose has dark spring flowers, charred embers, black olives and vanilla with heaps of creme de cassis, boysenberry and blueberry which all continue on the expansive palate, intensely mouth filling and full of youthful vigor and grip, though the tannins are lush and sweet. There is a touch of sage spice, cedar and blonde tobacco that appear in the background and the finish has black currant and licorice notes that linger on and on. This wine, as all of Stephan’s offerings are an experience you must explore, and I recommend you search them out, and or visit his estate in Paso Robles.
($55 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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