2004 L'Aventure "Estate" Paso Robles Syrah

SKU #1051451 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Readers looking for a clone of the 2003 Chave Hermitage or Chapoutier’s 2003 Hermitage Pavillon should check out l’Aventure’s 2004 Syrah Estate. Aromas of graphite, blackberries, creme de cassis liqueur, smoke, licorice, and pepper are accompanied by a wine with superb purity and massive body as well as great elegance. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. This is a brilliant wine from a Frenchman who has captured the magic of Paso Robles. (RP)  (8/2006)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated ruby to the rim. Brooding, inky aromas of cassis, blackberry, flint and smoked meat. Sweet, creamy, dense and thick; a wall of intense boysenberry and blackberry fruit covered with dark chocolate. This seamless wine reminded me of a top Australian Shiraz. Not the last word in complexity but has plenty of verve for all its sweetness and density.  (9/2006)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Very ripe and plush, with lots of vivid blackberry, wild berry and blueberry flavors that are dense and concentrated, bordering on thick. The tannins are ripe and integrated, and this shows a touch of heat on the finish. Still, there's a lot to like in this blockbuster.  (3/2007)

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Price: $39.99
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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
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.