The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2014

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66  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2014 INTRO-VINOUS C hloe Asseo, daughter of L'Aventure's famed winemaker Stephan Asseo, dropped by THE TASTING PANEL offices to showcase the winery's nationally distributed offerings. Chloe, who went to school for fashion and spent some time back in France, decided it was time to relocate to Paso Robles and join the family business as the new Sales, Marketing and Communications Director. "I had a desire to help make some changes," she told me, admitting that the transition has provided a big change from city life, but nonetheless an exciting one. The story of L'Aventure, recounted from Chloe's perspective, is about freedom and discovery. "My dad made wine for 17 years in France. But in France there are lots of regulations," she said. Stephan had witnessed a winemaking friend in Morocco blending Rhône and Bordeaux varietals and decided to leave Bordeaux in pursuit of doing the same. After passing on a move to South America and South Africa because of political unrest in the 1990s, the Asseos visited Napa, where they immediately fell in love with the region. But Stephan felt it was too established, too famous with its staple grape varieties, and he longed for a blank canvas. On a recommendation to visit Paso wine country, they were immediately taken by the region's great potential and decided to stay. Settling on their present location along Route 46, west of Highway 101, they planted 24 acres of vines on limestone-rich, incredibly rocky soils. Having carefully monitored those vines, a total of 58 acres com- pleted the planting by 2004—broken up into 48 blocks of eight different varieties, with each variety granted a slightly different aspect and sun exposure. "It was designed to create a nice spice rack," explained Chloe. As of 2008, every bottle produced is from 100 percent estate fruit. Those familiar with L'Aventure's wines will know immediately the bold, rich, complex, mineral-driven style that Stephan has perfected. Once considered "new wave," his blending of Rhône and Bordeaux varietals is now a mainstream practice among Paso winemakers. And with Chloe on board, it will be exciting to follow this iconic brand under her keen and enthusiastic watch. Carrying the Family Torch at L'Aventure Enter: Chloe Asseo WE TASTED: L'Aventure Optimus 2012 ($45) A rich wine of dark red berry fruit, toasted oak nicely integrated, gritty texture with pronounced minerality on the palate and a peppery high tone; long finish. 53% Syrah, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot (2,402 cases). L'Aventure Côte à Côte 2012 ($85) Bright nose of rich, red berry fruit and red flowers, velvety and plush jam character rounded out by leather notes on the palate. 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah (802 cases). L'Aventure Estate Cuvée 2012 ($85) Rich, densely packed with dark fruit and hearty flavors of tobacco spice and anise; integrated smoky oak character marked by noticeable minerality, like liquid graphite accented by fresh cracked pepper and leather on the finish. 57% Syrah, 31% Cab Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot (1,525 cases). story and photos by Jonthan Cristaldi PHOTO COURTESY OF L'AVENTURE

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