Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Closing Date: 8-26-06
Issue 166

L’AVENTURE 2004 CABERNET SAUVIGNON ESTATE PASO ROBLES ($65.00) RED 95+
L’AVENTURE 2004 CUVEE COTE A COTE PASO ROBLES ($80.00) RED 97+
L’AVENTURE 2004 ESTATE CUVEE PASO ROBLES ($80.00) RED 98
L’AVENTURE 2003 OPTIMUS PASO ROBLES ($50.00) RED 93+
L’AVENTURE 2004 SYRAH ESTATE PASO ROBLES ($65.00) RED 96+
L’AVENTURE 2003 SYRAH PASO ROBLES ($40.00) RED 91


Proprietor Stephan Asseo has emerged as a legitimate superstar in Paso Robles, and his current and upcoming releases reflect a benchmark producer performing at the top of his game. Although none of these offerings is inexpensive, they are world-class wines. Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon is usually less than exciting (although Justin has done a terrific job with Bordeaux varietals), but L’Aventure’s 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate could pass for a California version of the 2003 or 2005 Mouton Rothschild. Its dense purple color is followed by a classic bouquet of cedar, creme de cassis, licorice, and spice box. Full-bodied, powerful, and structured, with superb intensity and richness, it has the potential to evolve for 20-25 years. This magnificent example of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon should be at its finest between 2009-2022. I would love to see this wine put in a blind tasting with some first-growth Bordeaux from the 2003 or 2005 vintage. Chang- ing gears, the 2003 Optimus, a blend of 64% Syrah, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot, exhibits a dense ruby/purple color as well as complex aromas of blueberries, graphite, sweet cherries, spice box, and earth. Full-bodied, rich, and Bordeaux-like, with even greater texture and opulence in addition to moderately high tannin, it will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring, and should last for 15. There are 1,000 cases of the blockbuster 2004 Estate Cuvee. It reminded me of the 2005 L’Evangile...on steriods. A dense inky/purple color, great fruit purity, and abundant aromas of acacia flowers, blackberries, cassis, and blueberries are found in this bea- uty along with a seamless integration of tannin, acidity,and wood, and a finish that lasts over 60 seconds. The result is a profound wine that must be tasted to be believed.

Readers looking for a clone of the 2003 Chave Hermitage or Chapoutier’s 2003 Hermitage Pavillon should check out L’Aven- ture’s 2004 Syrah Estate. Aromas of graphite, blackberries, creme de cassis liqueur, smoke, licorice, and pepper are accompanied by a wine with superb purity and massive body as well as great elegance. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. The 2003 Syrah exhibits more jammy pain grille characteristics interwoven with less nuanced blackberry and cassis fruit, a flavorful opulence, considerable intensity, and abundant spice. It is more forward than its siblings, and should drink well over the next 7-10 years. Lastly, the opaque blue/purple 2004 Cuvee Cote a Cote (a blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 20% Mourvedre) offers a com- pelling bouquet of blueberries, graphite, acacia flowers, and cassis. Full-bodied, seamless, and multidimensional, this big, exuberant wine comes across as light on its feet in spite of the 15.9% alcohol. Consume this sensational 2004 over the next decade. These are brilliant wines from a Frenchman who has captured the magic of Paso Robles. Tel. (805) 227-1588

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