From the Terry Hoage Vineyards, our Paso Robles excursion continued to the L’Aventure Winery. The dirt road experience continued, sadly, but the beautiful countryside and sunshine pouring into our car made it worth the car wash that was in our future. We had learned, belatedly, that L’Aventure Winery was a “reservation only” tasting room, but a quick phone call to the nice people at the winery made everything work out. We made our way through the coded gate to discover a bit of France nestled in the Paso Robles hills.
|Charlotte at work
We entered the small, but functional tasting room and were immediately welcomed by our wine guide Charlotte. Straight out of central casting, Charlotte had an endearing French accent and an excitement about the wine that was infectious. She quickly shared the history of L’Aventure, that the owner/winemaker Stephan Assea had left a successful wine making business in France for Paso Robles to produce blends that were forbidden in his home country. She told us about the soon-to-be-opened tasting room and barrel caves (very exciting). And then she broke the news that most of what we would be tasting was already sold out. Coming back in May was our best (and only) chance to buy some of Stephan’s wine. In the words of Maxwell Smart, “Missed it by THAT much!”
|Fun things to come!
Undeterred, we starting our flight with their 2014 Estate Rosé. Dry, fresh, with hints of strawberry,vanilla and lemon zest, it was an ideal introduction to the winemaker’s palate. Needless to say, our excitement grew!
We moved onto the 2012 Optimus, a blend of 53% Syrah, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot, all estate grown. We loved the balanced layers of fruit, even finding some elderberry notes lurking in back. An amazing wine! If only there were some bottles set aside for us. Maybe another wine club?
|The place was rocking (ouch)
Up next was their 2012 Côte à Côte. This was another estate blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah. We could not get over the party of fruit flavors on the tongue, with a bit of nutmeg on the nose and a delightfully gentle finish. This wine (if one could purchase it) would pair well with nearly any meal, sturdy enough for spicy foods but soft enough at the finish to let mild foods still take center stage. The low acids make this a perfect pairing for soft cheese or a pasta dish.
The last wine of our flight was their 2012 Estate Cuvée. Again an estate blend, this wine combined 57% Syrah, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Petit Verdot. Complex and fruity, we found blackberry on the nose and again on the tongue, with a finish so subtle that you need a second sip just to appreciate it. Actually, any excuse for a second sip is a good excuse!
We chatted a bit more with Charlotte about fun wines to come, considered joining yet another wine club, and finally left the tasting room empty handed. Next time, L’Aventure, next time!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?