L'Aventure Optimus 2018
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A blend of 56% Syrah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Petit Verdot aged in 60% new French oak, the 2018 Optimus is the 20th edition of the cuvée and contains a touch less Petit Verdot than usual. It has a deep ruby-purple color and opens perfumed with crushed red and black cherries, dried violet, salumi and bay leaves with bright touches of blood orange peel. The medium to full-bodied palate is layered and surprisingly light on its feet, with a finely defined tannic grain and good freshness, finishing long.
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: Chateau Robin and Chateau Fleur-Cardinale in Saint-Emilion. Stephan raised these properties to a level of great quality, while managing some other well-established domaines such as Chateau Guillot-Clauzel in Pomerol and Chateau 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.
L'Aventure is located on the west side of Paso Robles in the Willow Creek District. The 127-acre property with 57 acres planted, is comprised of multiple hills of various elevation and complex soils. Because of its proximity to the ocean, the vineyard has clear warm days and drastic cool nighttime temperatures which increases the time of the grape’s maturation cycle providing fruit that creates a more complex and balanced wine. Stephan’s choice of this lean terroir provides him with the fruit necessary to create wine with a good balance between alcohol and acidity. The resulting wines are full and rich yet well balanced and elegant.
Growing on high elevation bedrock slopes, the vineyards of Paso Robles Willow Creek AVA sit at between 960 and 1,900 feet in elevation.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.