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Stephan Asseo, owner and winemaker at L'Aventure Winery was educated at the L'Ecole Oenologique de Macon and began winemaking in 1982 when he established Domaine Courteillac in Bordeaux. He and his family then purchased and very successfully developed two lovely properties in the Cotes de Castillon - Chateau Fleur Cardinal and Chateau Robin. In 1996, having developed a well-deserved reputation as a maverick vigneron, he left France, searching the world for the ideal location to pursue his dream: to creatively develop a great terroir without the constraint of AOC regulations which he believed to be tradition-bound and arbitrary. His quest eventually led him to Paso Robles.

Now that 'cool' and 'coastal' are the coolest of all concepts in relation to California wine, Paso Robles has become a name to conjure with. And if Paso Robles is cool, 'West Paso' is very literally super-cool: here the legendary Templeton Gap wind tunnel produces the greatest thermal amplitude in the all of Golden State, with diurnal temperature variations of 40 or even 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season. Combined with rolling topography, an ideal combination of calcareous and siliceous soils, extreme aridity and consistently clear, sunny days, conditions are perfect for grape-growing, allowing extended hang-time and the development of full phenolic ripeness and great complexity of flavour.

L'Aventure's magnificent 127 acre property is in many ways the quintessential West Paso estate: blissfully isolated hardscrabble hillsides surrounded by old-growth deciduous forest. The silence is deafening, except for the babbling of the creek that (somewhat miraculously) runs through it, and the piercing calls of the Acorn Woodpeckers that live along it.

Winegrowing is biodynamic, winemaking is minimalistic. The wines are an impeccable expression of Stephan's purist sensibility and their idyllic environment, combining Old World style and New World vitality in an effortless manner that resoundingly affirm the ambition that first led him to West Paso.

Reviews for this winery

  • Wine Advocate

    "This was another incredible lineup by winemaker Stephan Asseo, and both his 2012s and 2013s are at the top of the vintage. Looking at the 2012s, this vintage reminds Stephan of 2004, and the wines show incredible purity, as well as blockbuster levels of depth and richness. The tannin quality here is also off the charts, and this is what puts his 2012s a notch above the 2013s. For the reds, we started the tasting with 2013s from barrel. At the moment, the 2013s have more obvious tannin structure, yet they don’t lack for fruit or texture either. It will be interesting to see how these continue to develop in barrel. Either way, both of these vintages deserve a place in your cellar and it will be thrilling stuff to follow these wines over the coming decade or longer."

    August 2014