"A thrilling, nearly perfect efforts is the 2006 Estate Cuvee. A blend of 49% Syrah, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2006 Estate Cuvee may be even better. Tasting like a superb example of a premier grand cru St.-Emilion made from California-s limestone soils, it exhibits a dense purple color as well as a perfume of sweet creme de cassis, fruitcake, licorice, incense, tobacco leaf, and spice box. A voluptuous texture, fabulous opulence, and thrilling concentration as well as purity make for a prodigious example of blended red wine that will provide enormous pleasure and complexity for 12-15+ years.
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). Asseo continues to go from strength to strength, producing a fabulous portfolio of wines that makes 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
L'Aventure was founded in 1998 by a French winemaker, Stephan Asseo. After Stephan graduated enology school in Burgundy, the Asseo family bought their first estate, Domaine de Courteillac, in the Bordeaux area in 1982. Later, the family purchased additional properties: Château Robin and Château Fleur-Cardinale in Saint-Emilion. Stephan raised these properties to a level of great quality, while managing some other well-established domaines such as Château Guillot-Clauzel in Pomerol and Château Corbin in St Emilion.
Stephan saw in the New World a unique opportunity to expand his experience, while gaining more freedom in viticulture and vinification. He began by looking all over California for land, including Napa/Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties, but it was the terroir and climate of Paso Robles that impressed him the most.
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The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.