Falling in Love with Paso

This fast-growing coastal California appellation can be almost anything its winemakers want it to be

As a wine consultant and château owner in Entre-Deux-Mers, in Bordeaux, Stephan Asseo found himself "living a crazy life, spending more time driving from winery to winery than making wine". He wanted to try someplace new, he says, and to make a different kind of wine. He looked at other growing regions, first in Europe, then in Australia. Nothing clicked. "I came to the U.S. in 1997, first to Napa," he says. "I did not fall in love." Next he looked at Sonoma - "very, very nice terrior", but the terrior cost too much. Monterey? "Didn't fall in love." Santa Barbara County? "Not my kind of soil." Then he visited Paso Robles. "This time," he says, "I fell in love." He opened his L'Aventure winery there in 1998.

L'Aventure Estate Cuvée 2001 ($75)
A very dark, concentrated blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot, held in by firm tannin but somehow surprisingly approachable anyway, chocolatey and rich, with a long, elegant finish.


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