JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "...the 2018 Optimus reveals a deep purple color as well as beautiful notes of creme de cassis, black licorice, tobacco, chocolate, and a rocky, earthy minerality. It's rich and medium to full-bodied, with beautiful purity and silky tannins. This is a terrific introduction into the wines of l'Aventure and will drink well for over a decade."
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 93 POINTS - "Saturated ruby. Sharply focused aromas of cherry and dark berries, exotic spices, vanilla and incense; a smoky mineral top-note builds in the glass. Sappy, sweet and energetic on the palate, showing strong lift and powerful thrust to the spice-tinged cassis, cherry and floral pastille flavors. At once rich and lively, displaying fine definition on an impressively long, gently tannic finish that leaves a suave floral note behind."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "A blend of 56% Syrah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Petit Verdot aged in 60% new French oak, the 2018 Optimus is the 20th edition of the cuvee and contains a touch less Petit Verdot than usual. It has a deep ruby-purple color and opens perfumed with crushed red and black cherries, dried violet, salumi and bay leaves with bright touches of blood orange peel. The medium to full-bodied palate is layered and surprisingly light on its feet, with a finely defined tannic grain and good freshness, finishing long. 2,200 cases produced."
This wine is a joint venture of wine gurus from two continents. The blend is a true collaboration of winemakers Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste Michelle, along with two juggernauts from France, Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie! They have combined their decades of experience to produce a wine that demonstrates why Washington State is one of the best growing regions in the world for Syrah!
Approximately 22% of the lots were fermented as whole clusters, with the remaining
lots fermented as de-stemmed grapes. The inclusion of stems during fermentation
contributes earthy, savory aromas and flavors that perfectly complement the pure fruit
character of the grapes. To further enhance these complexities, about 20% of the lots also
underwent extended maceration. After fermentation, a majority of the young wine was placed into neutral French oak barrels for aging, with the remainder aged in tight-grained new French and American oak barrels. The use of neutral and tighter-grained barrels helps to preserve the unique character of the wine itself. This year the wine is a blend of 90% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 4% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Bright, full ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of dark berries, dark chocolate and spices; less expressive and wild than the 2015 version was at the same stage. Concentrated, silky and fine-grained, displaying sexy spice and violet lift to the concentrated dark berry and licorice flavors. I find more sweetness and primary fruit character--and more generosity of texture--than in the 2015 version of this bottling. The long finish hints at chocolatey ripeness but also shows lovely violet lift and a fine dusting of tannins. This needs aeration or a year or two in the cellar to shed its reductive quality. (I should note that a second bottle was a bit less generous and sweet.) (14.5% alcohol)"