2011 L'Aventure "Optimus Estate" Paso Robles Red Blend

SKU #1144637 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Leading off the 2011s reds, the 2011 Optimus is a rocking value that gives more than a glimpse into the style and quality of this estate. A blend of 50% Syrah, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Petit Verdot and spending 14 months in 70% new French oak, it delivers fantastic black and blue fruits, tobacco, violets and cedar aromas and flavors to go with a full-bodied, supple and beautifully polished mouthfeel that stays fresh and lively. Gorgeous all around, it will drink nicely through 2021, if not longer. Drink now-2021. I was blown away by these wines. Easily the most impressive lineup I’ve tasted from proprietor Stephan Asseo, these 2011s show the purity and focus of the vintage, yet balance it with incredible richness and texture that never seems cumbersome or heavy. The 2012s are no less rich, yet have impeccable purity and texture, as well as brilliant overall focus and structure that will allow them to evolve gracefully. Make no mistake about it though, these are all big, ripe wines; I find them utterly compelling and hard to resist. (JD)  (8/2013)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright purple. Ripe cassis and blackberry on the nose, with complicating notes of vanilla, pipe tobacco, violet and candied licorice. Lush and supple on the palate, with sweet, powerful dark berry flavors sharpened by gentle acidity. Vibrant and focused on the finish, with smooth tannins and a late note of candied plum. (JR)  (12/2013)

92 points Vinous

 Super-ripe black cherries, plums, cassis, smoke and mocha are some of the many notes that meld together in the 2011 Optimus. Deep, rich and fleshy to the core, the 2011 impresses for its depth and pure voluptuousness. Hints of spice, new leather and menthol add nuance on the striking finish. Optimus is 50% Syrah, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Petit Verdot. (AG)  (7/2014)

K&L Notes

From the winery: "Optimus sets the pace for the vintage with a delicious and classic blend. Purple hued, Optimus 2011 offers aromas of fresh blueberries, sharp cola, and a little anise. The attack is soft and round in the mouth. Firm acidity across the palate stands behind complex tobacco leaf, violet, and red and dark berry flavors. A soft finish, with some spicy wood notes, this wine is very characteristic of the vintage."

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Price: $49.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/13/2013 | Send Email
I first tasted the L’Aventure wines over a decade ago when I was just a hard working rookie in this business. I didn’t know much about wine at that point to be frankly honest but I was eager to learn and was willing to taste everything I could. I remember loving the L’Aventure wines but not really understanding why they were so great. Years have gone by and I certainly know a bit more that I used to but I now get why these wines are so darned good. First is location, great vineyards start with great location and this is about as good as it gets in Paso. Second is that Stephen thinks outside of the box. He left his home and family wineries in Bordeaux, mostly due to the constraining laws of the AOC to settle in a relatively unknown place at the time to make wines based in Cab and Syrah blends. It takes a special kind of man with an even more special vision to pull something like this off. Mind you this was well before the bottom dropped out of Syrah and people were forced to blend the sadly maligned varietal into Cab on a regular basis as a safety valve. All the background aside, and trust me there is more, the wines have always been of an uncompromising quality and an unmistakable house style. Big is always the word I use to describe these wines, they are full bore, heavily textured wines with generally higher alcohol levels. However there is always precision and balance in everything Stephan makes. This Optimus is as good as or better than any I’ve had with powerful aromatics of boysenberry preserves, braised pork belly, cassis liqueur and dried lavender. On the palate the wine is immense and dense in its scope with layers of spicy oak, bloody meat, torched sugar and a wealth of black fruits. Drinkable now with a hour or two of decanting or stow this away for 4-10 years, either way you’ll have a powerful but deft wine on your table.

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Specific Appellation:

Paso Robles

- Located about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this inland AVA enjoys a sunny and hot growing period while its seaside neighbors hang in the fog. Zinfandel is the traditional red grape of choice, though cabernet, chardonnay, and Rhône varietals are gaining favor. Most are made in a fruit-forward, early drinking style.
Alcohol Content (%): 15.1