The top wine of the estate and a blend that was the reason Stephan left Pomerol, the 2013 Estate Cuvee checks in as 43% Syrah, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Petit Verdot that comes all from his estate vineyard. It's locked and loaded with black and blue fruit, crushed rock, licorice and ground herbs, and I wrote that it seemed like it was filtered through a rocky riverbed in my notes. Serious, structured and tight, yet fabulously concentrated and pure, it needs 3-4 years of cellaring and will keep for two decades. 97+ points. (JD)
Vivid purple. Powerful smoke- and spice-accented aromas of cassis, cherry-vanilla and pipe tobacco, with a cedary nuance building with air. Juicy and sharply focused, offering sappy dark berry liqueur flavors and suggestions of candied rose and mocha. Smooth, slow-building tannins provide grip to the impressively long finish, which leaves boysenberry and floral notes behind. Stéphan Asseo told me that 2013 was a vintage that allowed him to make 'fresh wines with energy and transparency, which is what I find the most difficult task in Paso,' where superripe fruit is the rule and massive wines are the usual result. While the L’Aventure wines are decidedly rich and boldly flavored there’s also always a strong undercurrent of spiciness, florality and minerality that keeps the assertive fruit focused. Limestone minerality also makes the wines extremely ageworthy, a point that’s driven home whenever I get the chance to drink older bottles from this estate. Asseo is a flexible winemaker when it comes to blends and oak treatment, and his wines always show intense fruit and harmonious tannins, which makes them surprisingly drinkable soon after release and even out of the barrel (yes, they’re pretty tough to spit), for those lucky enough to score a winery visit. (JR)
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