Tag Archives: Sundance Bed and Breakfast

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!


Sundance Bed and Breakfast in Paso Robles Wine Country

Sundance Bed and Breakfast, the newest B&B in the Back Roads of Paso Robles

posted by Xochitl Maiman

Paso Robles seems to be the place where folks go to follow their passion – manifest a dream. It seems like every time I visit Paso I meet someone who “used to be….” or “used to do…”. But after a lifetime of “that” they wanted to re-invent themselves in a way that just “called” to them. While most of the transplants I’ve met had a dream of making wine in this grape growing  paradise, I’ve met a few that had hospitality on their minds – a way of connecting with people on a more meaningful, intimate level while realizing a slower paced, traffic  free, lifestyle.

Such was the case with Alma and Neil, the husband and wife owners of the newly opened Sundance Bed and Breakfast, perfectly located among the rolling, vineyard covered, oak studded hills of Paso Robles’ East side. Well….maybe it was more of Alma’s dream than Neil’s, but the lure of the wine country and all that delicious Paso wine eventually won him over and now he’s got a new vineyard project to sink his teeth into as well.  For their complete story read here.

Sundance Bed and Breakfast - Paso Robles, California

Sundance Bed and Breakfast - Paso Robles, California

With the determined Alma in the lead, she and Neil, in just over a year’s time, 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! For details on each of the rooms, read here.

Le Reve Room

Le Reve Room

View from Le Reve

View from Le Reve

The common areas are warm and inviting – the living room features a china cabinet full of wine glasses in every style imaginable and from many of the neighboring wineries (there are lots of great wineries in the immediate area, but more on that later), and from many of the local wine events. Book cases are full of books to keep you occupied when you’re not out tasting and wine magazines abound. A local artisan created very cool sliding barn doors that effortlessly glide open and closed between the living room, kitchen and dining room.  The same artist also created the tables in the dining room. WiFi is available if you need to plug in.

Living Room looking into Dining Room

Living Room looking into Dining Room

We arrived for our one night stay just in time to enjoy the “social hour”, which meant a much needed glass of local wine, (2012 Patelin de Tablas Rosé from Tablas Creek), and some cheese and charcuterie while being introduced to the other guests. After a full day of driving from place to place, we were more than ready for a respite on the back patio overlooking the seemingly endless vineyards and gardens.

Taking in the view....

Taking in the view....

Back patio

Back patio

Now had this been a Saturday night we might have opted for the Private Gourmet Dinner package offered Saturdays only and prepared by the trained house chef, yes that would be Alma again! But it was Sunday and we had dinner reservations at the also newly opened La Cosecha in Downtown Paso Robles, just a short drive away.

Dinner was great, but we were ready for a good night’s sleep in our super cozy bed, windows open letting in a gentle summer breeze. Really! If it all sounds perfect, that’s because it simply was. But more was in store….

I awoke to the smell of coffee wafting upstairs from the kitchen. I quickly showered, informed my hubby it was his turn in the bathroom, grabbed my book and headed downstairs. Yes coffee was ready and accompanied by freshly made raisin scones. Since I was the first one down, I had the whole living room to myself and my choice of overstuffed furniture to snuggle into for some quiet time, while stealing the frequent view of the gorgeous scenery outside. (It had just rained a bit otherwise I certainly would have been sitting outside)

Eventually all guests were down and breakfast was served. We started with a grilled peach half filled with mascarpone cheese and topped with sliced almonds. Next up was a sourdough waffle topped with ham, a poached egg and hollandaise.  So, so delicious! Fortified with plenty of coffee and this amazing breakfast, we were clearly ready for some serious wine tasting.

Roasted peach with mascarpone

Roasted peach with mascarpone

Eggs Benedict on waffle - yum!

Eggs Benedict on waffle - yum!

As for the abundance of wineries I mentioned earlier, there are way too many just in this part of Paso Robles alone to name here. But you can visit www.backroadswineries.com for a complete listing of all the major wineries and olive oil producers in the area. By all means, don’t miss out on olive oil tasting. Paso has some of the best producers in California! And if you need help making some choices, Alma and Neil have many recommendations to share.

Sundance Bed and Breakfast is the kind of place you’ll want to return to again and again, knowing it will feel familiar, warm and welcoming. Alma and Neil will make sure of that and I wish them many happy years as hosts to the travelers who come to Paso Robles seeking that ultimate wine country experience. I definitely am looking forward to my next stay.

Alma and Neil

Alma and Neil

I’LL DRINK TO THAT!