Michael Hepworth





Paso Robles(Spiritsman)2/23/15/–On my recent inspirational visit to Paso Robles I was introduced to two French vignerons who have very exciting wine brands, L’Aventure ad Clos Selene respectively.

L’Aventure is generally considered by those who know one of the best wineries in Paso Robes Clos Selene on the other hand is not even a winery, but a brand that is located in a warehouse with a tasting room, which like L’Aventure is by appointment only.


These wines have become the critics delight, selling out quickly with a waiting list of wine club members. Production is less than 1,000 cases, so if you can get your hand on one of these wines good luck to you.

L’Aventure is a small producer with an outstanding reputation in Paso Robles and primary wines are the Estate Rose 2014, Optimus 2012, Cote a Cote 2012 and Estate Cuvee 2012 with a combined case production of 5412. Stephan Asseo is the winemaker ably assisted by his wife Beatrice and daughter Chloe who has recently joined the growing business to help with the marketing of the wines.

Stephan comes from a winemaking family in Bordeaux where he established quite a name for himself as a vigneron and viticulturalist, before taking on new challenges in the exciting terroir of Paso Robles.

All the 2012 wines benefited from an early ripening and are big and dense with Intense fruit flavors being the hallmark of these wines with a long aging potential.


The Optimus 2012 which retails for $45 for example uses 53% Syrah along with Cabernet Sauvignon (38%) rounded out with Petit Verdot and is placed in 60% one year old oak barrels and 40% new French oak. Robert Parker gave the Optimus a 95 plus rating, but higher rankings were given to the other 2012 wines which retail for $85.


The winery is currently working on creating a state of the art tasting room and also constructing underground caves Clos Selene is named after winemaker Guillame Fabre’s wife, and Fabre worked at L’Aventure when he first came to Paso Robles. Since they are a small producer at this stage they do not have a vineyard but rent out small parcels in select plots of land in the region to grow their grapes. Prime site for them is the Russell Family Vineyard where they use very tight spacing of the vines.

Clos Selene has about eight wines on the market right now although most are sold out, but I believe you can still get the 2012 Hommage a nos Pairs. This wine is predominately 94% Syrah with a bit of Grenache and Viognier thrown in for good measure. The majority of the wines are hand harvested with the exception of the 2013 La Rose, de stemmed and then subjected to 48F cold soak maceration. Aging time also varies by wine but tends to be about 17 months, and combined case production for all the wines is about 610 cases and the winemaker signature is on every bottle.

To respect the spirit of L’Aventure, Stephan says “the blended varieties are the cornerstone of our production… blending increases the authenticity and the complexity of the creation as a whole”.









2011 Vintage

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate #208 (Aug 2013) – Review by Jeb Dunnuck
2011 Essence de Roussanne – 92 points
“A barrel-fermented blend of mostly Roussanne (half from James Berry Vineyard and half from Russell Family Vineyard) that spent 7 months in 80% new French oak and saw 10% through malolactic fermentation, the 2011 Roussanne offers up beautiful mineral-laced aromas of lemon peel, brioche, pear and crème to go with a medium-bodied, seamless palate feel. Rich, yet also pure and detailed, it really shows its class on the finish. Enjoy it over the coming 4-5 years.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate #208 (Aug 2013) – Review by Jeb Dunnuck
2011 Harmonie – 94 points
“Made from 41% Grenache, 37% Syrah and 22% Mourvedre that spent 15 months in 85% neutral French oak, the 2011 Harmonie is a full-bodied, ethereally textured effort that dishes out notions of black raspberry, licorice, crushed flowers, cassis and hints of white chocolate on both the nose and palate. Knockout stuff, with both richness and freshness, it firms up beautifully on the finish with polished tannin. Enjoy this full-flavored beauty over the coming decade or longer. Drink now- 2021.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate #208 (Aug 2013) – Review by Jeb Dunnuck
2011 L’Or Blanc – 94 points
“A standout white from the region, the L’Or Blanc is a co-fermented blend of 85% Viognier and 15% Roussanne that spent 7 months in100% new French oak. Made in a rich, full bodied style, with gorgeous white peach, loads of white flowers and brioche, it has awesome purity and serious length. Very rich, it’s perfectly done in the style and I love it. Enjoy bottles over the coming year or two. Drink now- 2015.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate #208 (Aug 2013) – Review by Jeb Dunnuck
2011 Hommage a nos Pairs Reserve – 95 points
“A blend of 93% Syrah, 5% Grenache and 2% Roussanne that was fermented with 5-10% stem inclusion and aged 15 months in new French oak, the 2011 Hommage a nos Pairs Reserve is more supple and upfront than the L’Insolent and offers up deep, layers aromas of raspberry ganache, crème de cassis, chocolate, vanilla and hints of spice on the nose. Full-bodied, voluptuously textured and incredibly polished, with sweet tannin, this sexy, no-holds-barred effort will deliver the goods over the coming 5-7 years, possibly longer.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate #208 (Aug 2013) – Review by Jeb Dunnuck
2011 L’Insolent – 96 points
“Due to uneven ripening and shatter, the 2011 L’Insolent doesn’t have any Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend (2010 was Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated) and checks in as a blend of 45% Syrah, 36% Petit Verdot and 19% Cabernet Franc that spent 15 months in 100% new French oak. Inky colored, with notions of blackberry, cassis, truffle, toast and tar on the nose, it is more elegant and seamless on the palate than the nose would suggest. Nevertheless, it’s a beautifuly full-bodies wine that has layers of fruit, ripe tannin and a great finish. I should drink nicely for upwards of a decade or longer. Drink now- 2021+.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate #208 (Aug 2013) – Review by Jeb Dunnuck
2011 Sweet Clementine – 92 points
“In addition to some smoking reds, Guillaume also produces a great dessert wine, Made in the style of Banyuls and fortified (10% Brandy was added) blend 97% Grenache and % Syrah that was harvested brix), the uring the first week of November (At 27.5 brix) the 2011 Sweet Clementine is a beauty. Offering up sweet, pure aromas and flavors of spice box, herbes de Provence, kirsch and blackberry liqueur, it is round, supple and full-bodied on the palate. The sweetness is balanced nicely here and everything is in the right proportions. Enjoy it over the coming decade or longer. Drink now-2021+.”
Vinious.com, by Galloni
Clos Solene 2011 Hommage a nos Pairs – 91
“The 2011 Hommage a Nos Pairs is beautiful in this vintage. Crushed rocks, spices, new leather, white flowers and sweet dark cherries wrap around the palate as the wine opens up in the glass. A dark, sumptuous wine, the 2011 possesses striking inner perfume and gorgeous length. The blend is 93% Syrah, 5% Grenache and 2% Roussanne that was co-fermented with the Syrah.”
Vinious.com, by Galloni
Clos Solene 2011 L’Or Blanc – 92
“The 2011 L’Or Blanc Russell Family Vineyards is striking. White flowers, mint and peaches waft from the glass in this delineated, totally beautiful wine. Clean veins of minerality give the wine elements of freshness and verve that aren’t always found in Rhone white blends. L’Or Blanc is 85% Viognier and 15% Roussanne, co-fermented, that spent seven months in 100% new French oak barrels.”
Vinious.com, by Galloni
Clos Solene 2011 Essence de Roussanne – 91
“Clos Solene’s 2011 Essence de Roussanne emerges from parcels in the James Berry and Russell Family vineyards. Layers of white stone fruits, flowers, honey and spices are beautifully alive in the glass. The use of 80% new barrels shapes the wine, but the fruit handles it well. This isn’t the most varietally expressive Roussanne readers will come across, but it is among the most striking. The textured style will be most appreciated by readers who like rich, full-bodied whites.”



Michael Hepworth

287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211




Follow Me on Pinterest