Tag Archives: Law Estate Wines

What’s New in Paso Robles Wine Country?

New wineries, restaurants, event venue and more don’t detract from the small town feeling of Paso Robles.

posted by Xochitl Maiman     November 4, 2013

Half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the Central Coast of California lies Paso Robles. The area, known these days primarily for it’s burgeoning wine country, is true to its name, “The Pass of the Oaks.” Gorgeous, huge, age-old oak trees share the landscape with the rolling vineyards, in an area once known for its mineral hot springs. The last 10-15 years have brought huge progress and growth to the Paso Robles wine making industry, and appropriately the restaurant scene has grown right along with it. And yet, with all this growth, Paso Robles manages to keep its small town feel, all revolving around the charming Downtown Park.

Recently I took a trip to Paso to see for myself what’s new – here’s just a taste…..

The newest winery to join the over 200 existing wineries, is still under construction, (hoping to open by end of year), but they have been pouring their wines at tastings around the country creating a buzz and much anticipation over the inaugural releases. LAW Estate Wines is the dream of proprietors, Don and Susie Law. They have brought on one of Paso Robles’ top winemakers, Scott Hawley to head up the wine program, and have acquired a 45 acre site for the winery, (up to 10,000 case production capability), and 260 acres for vineyard plantings on the west side of Paso Robles off of Peachy Canyon Road. Their inaugural vintage, (2010 with a 1500 case production), of  big, lush red wines, is set to be released to their allocation list this Fall.

LAW Estate Wines winery and tasting room under construction in Paso Robles, Calif.

LAW Estate Wines winery and tasting room under construction in Paso Robles, Calif.

LAW Estate Wine's 2010 "Audacious"

LAW Estate Wine’s 2010 “Audacious”

Tablas Creek Vineyard, a well established and very popular winery, has, in their constant pursuit of a vineyard complete with all thirteen Châteauneuf du Pape varietals, planted this year half an acre of a relatively unknown white Rhone varietal called picardan. According to  Jancis Robinson, there is less than one acre of this grape planted in all of France. At the time of my visit, Jason Haas, the son of Tablas Creek Vineyard founder, Robert Haas, and general manager, wasn’t quite sure how they were going to use the grape, but I look forward to tasting whatever they come up with. Read more about the nearly decade long process to complete the varietal collection on the acclaimed Tablas Creek blog. More on this story to come….

Jason Haas of Tablas Creek Vineyard with new picardan plantings

Jason Haas of Tablas Creek Vineyard with new picardan plantings

Picardan at Tablas Creek Vineyard

Picardan at Tablas Creek Vineyard

Out on the wine trail there are many wonderful Bed & Breakfasts to stay in for the most complete wine country experience. The newest of these is Sundance B & B, perfectly located among the rolling, vineyard covered, oak studded hills of Paso Robles’ East side. The proprietors, Neil and Alma, have transformed the one-time private home on 10 acres into a Tuscan-style villa overlooking gorgeous gardens and vineyards, some mature and some newly planted. Alma paid great attention to every detail in designing the three guest rooms, each uniquely decorated, and all luxuriously appointed with fine bed linens, antiques, art, Aromatherapy toiletries, large closet with plush robes, refrigerator and spectacular views! Private gourmet dinner packages are offered on Saturdays, and breakfasts are delicious as Alma is an accomplished cook as well as host. This is the kind of place you’ll want to return to again and again, knowing it will feel familiar, warm and welcoming. Read my complete post about Sundance B&B with images here.

Sundance Bed and Breakfast

Sundance Bed and Breakfast

Back in town, there’s lots of “new” to talk about…..

Taste wines from four of Paso’s hottest winemakers in one place at the Paso Underground. Located right across from the downtown park, this unique tasting room used to be a garage. Now it’s the place to taste the outstanding wines of Edmond AugustTurtle Rock VineyardsAaron Wines and Clos Solene. Enter through the back off of Railroad St. via a nice patio space where gnarly, twisted grape vine samples hang on the walls and, along one fence, planted vines represent the varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Grenache, Mourvedre and Roussanne. The Paso Underground is a “not to be missed” wine tasting experience during a visit to Paso Robles wine country. Plan ahead as their hours of operation are limited, but they do take appointments. This is one “underground” you’ll want to tell everyone about!

The Paso Underground Tasting Room

The Paso Underground Tasting Room

From the folks that brought Il Cortile to the downtown area, comes their newest restaurant, La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant, located near the also new location of Artisan Restaurant. Spanish for “the harvest”, La Cosecha focuses on the cuisine of Spain and South America. This place offers a small but awesome outside seating area perfect for watching all the happenings and people in downtown as is it directly across from the park. Food is yummy – cocktails are creative – wine list small but mighty.

Tapas at La Cosecha

Tapas at La Cosecha

There is a new cookie store in town too – Brown Butter Cookie Company, the hugely popular Cayucos cookie store, has opened a second location at Park and 12th Streets in downtown Paso Robles. Think Brown Butter Sea Salt cookies….. I missed it on my last trip, but it’s at the top of the list for the next one.

Perhaps the biggest new thing in Paso Robles this year is the Vina Robles Amphitheatre. Located off of 46 East and adjacent to the Vina Robles Tasting Room/Hospitality Center, the 3300 seat, (the furthest being a mere 150 feet from the stage), “boutique” amphitheatre was host to some very big names in entertainment during its 2013 inaugural season – Moody Blues, John Fogerty, Tony Bennett, Bonnie Raitt and Steve Martin, just to name a few. There is a wide array of seating options from casual lawn seating to luxury boxes, concession areas offer a wide variety of food and beverages, and of course the sound system is “state of the art”.  Their 2014 concert schedule will be announced in the spring, but you can stay up to speed with updates on their Facebook page.

Entrance to Vina Robles Amphitheatre

Entrance to Vina Robles Amphitheatre

Vina Robles Amphitheatre

Vina Robles Amphitheatre

With everything there is to see, do and taste in Paso Robles, isn’t it time you planned a visit soon?

I’d like to thank Oliver Esparham, General Manager, Law Estate Wines, Jason Haas of Tablas Creek, Neil and Alma of Sundance B&B, Simone Michel, Director of Customer Relations & Marketing at Vina Robles and the winemakers at the Paso Underground, (who opened up special for our group), for taking the time to show me around their beautiful sites. Cheers!

I’LL DRINK TO THAT!


LAW Estate Wines – Paso Robles

LAW is coming to Paso Robles!

At this year’s Rhone Ranger tasting, Los Angeles in June,  I was quite impressed by my first tasting of the wines of LAW Estate Wines, opening in Paso Robles later this year. So I made arrangements to delve further into this new wine estate with a tour of the winery/tasting room construction site and vineyard in late July.

LAW Estate Wines is the dream of proprietors, Don and Susie Law. They have brought on one of Paso Robles’ top winemakers, Scott Hawley to head up the wine program, and have acquired a 45 acre site for the winery, (up to 10,000 case production capability), and 260 acres for vineyard plantings on the west side of Paso Robles off of Peachy Canyon Road. Their inaugural vintage, (2010 with a 1500 case production), of  big, lush red wines, is set to be released to their allocation list in the Fall.

Our guide for the day was Oliver Esparham, the General Manager of the estate, and he gave us a pretty extensive tour of the properties along with a tasting of some of their wines. We started by walking the site for the winery and tasting room. This is big, folks! State of the art gravity flow winery, 22 concrete tanks with built in jackets for temperature control, lab on site, indoor and outdoor tasting areas and an “Owner’s Library” for private tastings.

LAW Estate Wines winery and tasting room under construction - Paso Robles, Calif.

LAW Estate Wines winery and tasting room under construction - Paso Robles, Calif.

22 4-ton concrete tanks (concrete eggs for whites)

22 4-ton concrete tanks

Tasting Room

Looking through main building at "Owner's Library"

After touring the facility, we drove over to the nearby owner’s residence and tasted a bit of the “Audacious”, a blend of  44% Grenache, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 10% Petit Sirah. Lots of bright fruit, weight and complexity from the Syrah, acidity and a bit of chalkiness from the layers and layers of rock that make up the hillside vineyard.

LAW Estate Wine's 2010 "Audacious"

LAW Estate Wine's 2010 "Audacious"

After enjoying the air conditioning and the wine, we hopped into a mule and headed out to the vineyard. The vineyard at 1800 feet of elevation is one of the highest vineyards in the area. 32 acres were planted to Rhone varietals in 2008 with 80% planted to multiple clones of Grenache and Syrah. Small blocks are also planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. The layers of  limestone make for a wonderful vineyard, but one dusty ride in an open mule. No worries though, the vineyard is beautiful and the views spectacular!

View from the winery of the hillside vineyards of LAW Estate Wines

View from the winery of the hillside vineyards of LAW Estate Wines

Modified goblet trained vines - LAW Family Vineyards

Modified goblet trained vines - LAW Family Vineyards

Oliver in the Law Family Vineyard

Oliver in the Law Family Vineyard

The hour got late and we needed to leave, so Oliver gave us a bottle of “Sagacious” to take with us to taste at a later date. We tasted this wine, 44% Grenache, 42% Syrah, 14% Mourvedre, with some Paso wine loving friends. Here are their comments: “full mouthfeel”, “yummy”, “big but not overpowering – smooth”, “minerals in nose”, “dark cherry, little tobacco, dried plums”. The winery website describes the wine this way, “…fantastic acidity that allows this really big wine to feel almost light on its feet”. “And that is a perfect description. At the Rhone Ranger event I also tasted the “Intrepid”, a 100% Syrah, (dried figs in the nose), and “Beguiling”, (94% Grenache/6% Syrah), smooth, soft tannins, full with big cherry finish. At the tasting I gave all four wines highest marks. Jeb Dunnuck of “The Rhone Report” gave all four wines very high scores. Read his reviews here.

I’d like to thank Don Law and Oliver Esparham for allowing me access to the “behind the scenes” of this new winery that I’m sure we are going to hear lots of great things about in the future. Look for their opening and make this a “must visit” on your 2014 visit to Paso Robles!

I’LL DRINK TO THAT!