On the Road with The Wine Wrangler: L'Aventure

L'Aventure Tasting Room

Stephan Asseo made his mark in Bordeaux. Where all things wine was firmly imprinted on him. Where he and his family established Domaine de Courteillac, Chateau Fleur Cardinal and Chateau Robin. With over two decades of winemaking pedigree, he decided he needed a well-deserved creative outlet. After a year's world-wide search, all the way from South Africa, Lebanon and finally Napa, he and his wife decided Paso Robles would be the perfect place to start their new adventure, so they packed up and moved to their new one-hundred-and-fifty-acre vineyard in 1996. Here, away from the strict AOC regulations, he is free to craft incredible works of art. 

For the master vigneron, the unique terroir was the deciding point. He simply fell in love with the place. The west side of the Paso Robles offered wondrous calcareous soils, high altitudes and a maritime influence that would be crucial to growing great fruit. He aptly named it "L'Aventure".

Stephan's blends are an impressive range on their own, with classic influences from his motherland, France, he incorporates varietals that offer more than just fruit but complexity and structure to the wine. The Estate CuveĆ© and Optimus 'Paso Blends' incorporate Petit Verdot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. He firmly believes, and rightly so, that blending premium varietals increases not only the balance of the wines, but their complexity and authenticity. 

To achieve this true fruit, each varietal had to be painstakingly matched to their correct block that offered the most perfect conditions for it to thrive. He took into account drainage, the slope of land down to what type of irrigation to consider. Managing one hundred and twenty-seven acres is no easy task. Elevations had to be just right. Some varieties thrive better at high altitudes while some require maximum sun exposure. To achieve this, he would plant on multiple hills. 

You are sure to be blown away by the result! His hard work and patience paid off. L'Aventure produces wines that reflect his vision-and exceptional taste. 

So near to the ocean, the vineyard enjoys high diurnal temperatures: warm, sunny clear days and cold nights. The sharp drop helps slow down the day's ripening and the fruit retains its acidity. What's more, the sunny days last into November increasing the grapes physiological ripening. The result is wines that have firm identity with a good balance of alcohol and acidity.

At the winery, take some time to tour the very impressive underground caves that house ever evolving wines. To Stephan, this was a very important project. Not only does it work for good storage it eliminates the need to keep the wines in air-conditioned rooms. Temperatures are kept cool and the humidity in check while staying sustainable and only using electricity where completely necessary. Eliminating air conditioning has also been good for the wines, it tends to dry the air and encourage evaporation, at times much faster than the wine maker intended.

At L'Aventure, taking your time to savor the sites will be quite effortless, from the exposed limestone walls of the caves to the rolling vineyards, an afternoon here is always well spent.

Join The Wine Wrangler on a tour for your next visit to Paso Robles Wine Country.