Paso Robles Uncorked: A Visit to L'Aventure

"The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure." ~ Christopher McCandless

From the deep recesses of the blog's archives comes this gem from ten years ago, reporting about one of my first adventures in wine country, Paso Robles, and L'Aventure specifically. Initially, as you will see in my earlier writing, I was quite taken with big hedonistic behemoths. Alas, that is no longer true and please don't allow my present palate which has evolved to drier and if I may say, more sophisticated wines, but please don't let my words give you even a moment of pause in experiencing Stephan's wines for yourself. We're on all the same path, enjoying wine, but some are further along than others, and as always "drink what you like." I still have a few bottles from that visit in the cellar, but each time I take one out, it reminds me how much my taste in wine has changed in the last ten years.

It is another hot day in Paso, although a hard rain came through overnight and left the beautiful Paso skies full of gentle puffy whites. The harvest heat picked right back up from where it left off the previous day. Our first stop of the day is L'Adventure, which I will let Robert Parker give you a quick blurb about the going's on at this gem in Western Paso.

Parker describes it this way; "transplanted Frenchman, Stephan Asseo (from St.-Emilion), has found a home as well as some great terroirs in the limestone soils of Paso Robles (all his vineyards are situated on the western side of Highway 101). L-Aventure one of the bright, shining reference points for the region. This is one of the California Central Coast superstars, and the wines are worth every cent."-Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

I find his description entirely accurate, tasting, and drinking their wines, you get the sense that you are in smack in the middle of the Rhone. This why L'Aventure and a host of other wineries have been dubbed the "Rhone Rangers."
The first thing we tasted was the 2005 Optimus (51% Syrah, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Petit Verdot) wow a great wine! Seamless, elegant fruit, balanced acidity and a suitable structure for aging. But I recommend drinking now. Oh, by the way, RP liked this wine as much as we did. The night before we went to L'Adventure we paired this same wine with a rack of lamb. Marvelous!

That same day in the tasting room we tried the Estate Cuvée 2006, 49% Syrah estate, 37% Cabernet estate and 14% Petit Verdot estate. Now when it says estate, it means the grapes are sourced from the vineyards they own and control from grape to glass. This really makes a huge difference in the quality of the wine, and you can just taste the freshness, and by viewing the vineyards, you start to get a sense of place. Check out this picture of L'Adventure I shot from the tasting room door.

You see why the vineyards here produce some of the most excellent wine coming out of the Paso area. We also tasted the Estate Cote a Cote 2006 40% Mourvedre estate, 30% Grenache estate and 30% Syrah Estate. Another amazing effort! We purchased all our budget would afford and signed up for their wine club (were on the waiting list) in hopes of being able to buy more of their wines in the future. They are a little on the expensive side for most folks. But contrasted with their brethren in the Rhone, they are quite a bargain.

By the way, the tasting fee of $10.00 can be shared, but I recommend everyone get their own as the tasting fee includes a very lovely Riedel 'O' Cabernet/Merlot/Bordeaux Stemless Wine Glasses, which do have the L'Adventure logo. These glasses sell for $24.95 for the pair retail. But you can get them with your tasting (pours are very generous). Make sure you go early to avoid the crowds, this tasting room or Salon as they call it will fill up quickly. L'Adventure is on most folks hit parade, so please stop on by, taste, enjoy and take some home to enjoy on a special or for that matter any occasion.

That's is all I have time for now, but I still have 3 more wineries from the area that I believe will shock and awe your palates. So until then slurp long and prosper and remember a day without wine is just not a very good day!


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