Optimus 2016

L'Aventure

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Tasting Notes

Moving to the wines from bottle and starting with the 2016 Optimus, which is always a great introduction into the wines of this estate, it’s a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Petit Verdot that spent 14 months in 60% new barrels. This full-bodied, rich yet also elegant and lively red gives up a big, sweet nose of crème de cassis, toasted spice, licorice, and graphite. With good acidity and impressive finesse and elegance as well as richness, it’s a no-brainer purchase to drink over the coming 7-8 years. Consistently thrilling wines come from l’Aventure, which is run with incredible talent and passion by St. Emilion native Stephan Asseo. His 2016s are incredible efforts, and the 2017 more Rhône blends are certainly in the same ballpark. Due to the heat spikes at harvest, Bordeaux varieties were much more difficult and hit or miss.

Score: 94

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com Maturity: 2018-2026 29 November 2018

Starting with the 2016-barrel samples, the 2016 Optimus is the entry level cuvee of the estate and is always based on Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. I suspect it’s better than most estate top cuvee and looks to be huge success in 2016. Cassis, violets and peppery herbs all emerge from this surprisingly deep, rich, concentrated red that’s going to deliver the goods right out of the gate. Located in the heart of the appellation, just off highway 46, Stephan Asseo’s l’Aventure Winery is unquestionably in the top 3-4 estates in Paso Robles. While he made just a handful of cuvees in the past, today he releases upwards of eight cuvees in each vintage. In addition, he’s just completed construction on a new cave/winery, and he continues to fine tune the style here, experimenting with amphora and larger barrels, with the goal of getting more elegance and purity into his wines. Looking at the wines reviewed here, the 2015s are certainly rock solid, and show tighter, elegant, and structured personalities. His 2016s are a step up over the 2015s and will be the first vintage completely made in the new cellar. They offer broad, sumptuous profiles, yet with no loss of purity or precision.

Score: 93 - 95

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com 08 October 2017

Brilliant violet. Ripe dark berries, licorice, woodsmoke and candied violet on the deeply perfumed, spice-accented nose. Concentrated but lively as well, offering intense blackberry, cassis, cola and spicecake flavors that show impressive delineation and back-end lift. A very long, sappy finish features slow-building tannins, a hint of mocha and lingering smokiness.

Score: 93

Josh Raynolds, Vinous.com Maturity: 2024-2033 01 September 2018