A Food and Wine Pairing from the Back Roads of Paso Robles

Sundance Bed and Breakfast teams up with Penman Springs Vineyard to create a delicious wine country meal.

By Alma Ayón of Sundance Bed & Breakfast

Sundance Bed and Breakfast just celebrated its first year anniversary – it has been an incredible time! We have met people from all over the world but the real treat has been the people we have met in Paso Robles, especially all the folks from the Back Roads community. Being a Chef and an Innkeeper in wine country has been a dream come true for me. I love coming up with new recipes and cooking gourmet breakfasts, but I really get excited when I get to prepare memorable dinners! For the Back Roads Month of September Recipe, it was my pleasure to work with Beth and Carl McCasland of Penman Springs Vineyard to create two dishes to pair with their wonderful wines: “Watermelon Salad with Prosciutto Chips, Pickled Onion, Queso Fresco, Rosé Vinaigrette and Balsamic Reduction” paired with their delightful “Two Roses” Syrah Rosé and “Filet Mignon with Sunchoke Puree, Wilted Spinach, Sautéed Carrots and Crispy Shallots in a Cabernet Bordelaise Sauce” paired with their delicious Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy!

Penman Springs Vineyard Paso Robles wines

About “Two Roses” – by Beth McCasland of Penman Springs Vineyard

“Two Roses” Syrah Rosé was originally named for our two employees named Rosa – one in the vineyard, and the other in the tasting room. At this time, neither is still working for us but we remember them fondly each year with our new Rosé. The farm and the earth seem to outlive the people! Carl picks the syrah for the Rosé each year as an intentional Rosé picked earlier than the deep, red syrah he produces. He likes to have the alcohol a little lower in the Rosé and the acid a little sharper. The fruit notes are soft and lovely in our Rosé – always a favorite. This 2012 vintage received a Gold medal from the Pacific Rim Wine Competition.

Watermelon Salad with Prosciutto Chips, Pickled Onion,

Queso Fresco, Rosé Vinaigrette and Balsamic Reduction

(paired with Penman Springs “Two Roses” Rosé)

Watermelon Salad


4 prosciutto slices

1 c. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbs. sugar

1 small red onion

½ lemon

¼ c. olive oil

¼ c. Penman Springs “Two Roses” Syrah Rosé

1 small minced shallot

Salt & Pepper

1 small watermelon

Maldon salt crystals

1 lb. mixed baby greens

Micro greens

Queso fresco


Heat oven to 400° F. Line a cookie sheet with a rack and arrange prosciutto slices flat on the rack. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until prosciutto looks nice and brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Mix balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small thick bottom stainless pan. Cook on medium high heat until reduced to a syrupy consistency making sure the liquid does not boil (you can substitute with Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze). Set aside. Slice red onion using a mandoline. Put sliced onion in a plastic container, squeeze juice of half a lemon, sprinkle with a little salt, cover container and shake gently. Refrigerate until ready to use. To prepare the watermelon: cut off both ends and sit the watermelon on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife peel the skin and cut it into four 1” thick slices. Using a round cookie cutter, cut the center of each slice into a perfect circle. For the dressing: mix olive oil, “Two Roses” Syrah Rosé, minced shallot, salt and pepper. To assemble salad: Drizzle Balsamic reduction on the bottom of a salad plate creating a pattern of your choice, place a slice of watermelon in the center, sprinkle the melon with maldon salt (sea salt crystals). Break the crispy prosciutto slices into smaller pieces and lay on top of the watermelon. Dress the baby greens lightly with the dressing and carefully mound a handful on top of the watermelon. Top the salad with pickled red onion and micro greens, trying purposely to achieve height. Sprinkle a small amount of queso fresco on top and around the bottom (queso fresco can be substituted with goat cheese). Pair the salad with a nice glass of chilled “Two Roses” Syrah Rosé.

Cooking with wine: it has been said –in culinary world– that the wine you cook with has to be just as good as the wine you drink. I tested that theory when I used Penman Springs Reserve Cabernet. The results are in: an incredibly rich and seductive red wine sauce.


About Penman Reserve Cabernet – by Beth McCasland

Penman Springs Vineyard Penman Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is our flagship wine crafted from vines of French certified clones 169 and 341 planted in 2001 and barrel aged for 33-34 months. This wine has been the darling of Affairs of the Vine “Cabernet Shoot-Out” for 3 years earning a 90 or 91 points each year. The latest description went something like “Yummy on the palate. Easy to quaff, showing red cherry, boysenberry, and a touch of savory spice. Bright cherry citrus and tea notes on the finish. Nicely balanced, lovely acid and gentle use of oak.” It’s a slam-dunk with Alma’s filet!

Filet Mignon with Sunchoke Puree, Wilted Spinach, Sautéed Carrots and Crispy Shallots in a Cabernet Bordelaise Sauce

(paired with Penman Springs Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon)

Penman Springs Vineyard wine with filet mignon

Traditional Bordelaise Sauce is made with bone marrow, for a rich, silky, and delicious glaze.

bones for bordelaise sauce


2 lbs. of bone marrow

2 springs of thyme

2 sprigs of rosemary



Olive oil

4 filet mignon steaks (2”-3“ thick)

2 large finely chopped shallots

1 c. Penman Springs Reserve Cabernet

16 oz. Beef stock

2 sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

2 tbs. of demi glace (you may use Williams Sonoma Demi Glace)

5 tbs. butter

3-4 sliced shallots – optional

Chopped Italian parsley



Arrange bone marrow on a sheet pan. Drizzle bones with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and arrange thyme and rosemary underneath and in between bones. Bake bone marrow at 400˚ for about 20 minutes, or until bones achieve a nice brown color. Set aside for a few minutes then with the help of a table knife push the marrow out of the bone and set aside. Season beef tenderloin with salt and pepper well. Heat a stainless pan and add two tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan is very hot, place the filets and sear all sides until the meat looks evenly brown on all sides. Cover a sheet with aluminum foil. Remove filets from pan and place on the sheet. Remove excess oil from the pan and add a tablespoon of new olive oil, add shallots and cook until translucent and fragrant. Deglaze pan with red wine (you may want to turn off the flame while adding the wine); let wine cook until reduced by half, add beef stock, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, demi glace, and bone marrow. Using a whisk, stir to combine all ingredients and to help bone marrow dissolve. Cook sauce until reduced to 1/3 of the liquid. Using a fine mesh colander, strain liquid and discard contents. Return liquid to pan and continue to cook on medium heat Add pieces of butter one at a time and whisk gently waiting for each piece to dissolve before adding more. Do not let the sauce boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The reduction should have a glossy texture (it should not be runny). Fry shallots in vegetable oil until brown and drain on paper towel. Finish the beef tenderloin in the oven at 400˚ for about ten minutes. If you want exact doneness, use a meat thermometer until it reads 130˚ for medium rare and 140˚ for medium. I served this filet mignon with sunchoke puree , wilted spinach, sautéed carrots and fried shallots. These can be substituted with mashed potatoes, greens beans or any other vegetable you like. Don’t forget to ladle the delicious bordelaise sauce you just made around the bottom of the plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Finally, pour your guests and yourself a glass of the beautiful Penman Reserve Cabernet. Enjoy!

Filet Mignon

Wine Country Food from the Back Roads of Paso Robles

Wine Country recipe courtesy of Olivas de Oro, olive oil producer in Paso Robles, California

Barbequed Lamb Chops with Mint Chimichurri Sauce

Olivas de Oro Olive Oils Paso Robles

This is one of our favorite dishes. It is easy to prepare and has so much flavor.  It pairs well with a spicy Tempranillo or Zinfandel.  We use our own grass fed lamb and olive oils that are grown on-site and available in our tasting room in Creston. We hope you’ll come visit us in Paso Robles wine country, but in the meantime enjoy this recipe with friends this summer – Cheers!

Barbequed Lamb Chops with Mint Chimichurri Sauce

~ Featuring Olivas de Oro Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil and our grass fed lamb

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • ½ cup Olivas de Oro Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

8 – 10  grass fed lamb chops

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Then rub on all sides of the lamb chops.  Marinate 15 – 30 minutes while you prepare the BBQ and the Mint Chimichurri Sauce.

Lamb chops in marinade

BBQ the lamb chops for 4-5 minutes on each side or until they are charred on the outside and still rare to medium on the inside.

Serve with the Mint Chimicurri Sauce and enjoy!

Mint Chimichurri Sauce

~Featuring Olivas de Oro Cilantro-Jalapeno Olive Oil

This is good on pretty much anything.  We also use is on prawns, chicken and vegetables.


  • 2 cups mint leaves
  • 1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons Olivas de Oro Cilantro-Jalapeno Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Pinch of sugar


Puree all the ingredients in a blender.

lamb chops with chimichurri sauce

Wine and Food Pairing from the Back Roads of Paso Robles #1 – Shadow Run Vineyards

Shadow Run Vineyards shares their recipe for Salmon to pair with their Rhone style blend, Shadow Dance

2011 Shadow Dance

(80% Grenache, 18% Syrah, 2% Petite Sirah)

paired with

Spice Crusted Salmon with Rosemary Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables


Try pairing Shadow Run Vineyards’ 2010 Shadow Dance—a red Rhône blend of Grenache (80%), Syrah (18%), and Petite Sirah (2%)—with a uniquely spiced salmon entrée, served atop rosemary mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables. This pairing is fantastic, both in flavor and texture, and will surely please your taste buds.

Shadow Run Vineyards - Shadow Dance

When paired with the tender and juicy salmon, the mouth feel of the wine becomes more complex; the dryness is smoothed out by the omega-3 fatty acids in the salmon and the interaction between the two creates a perfect balance. The Mekelasha spices that crust the salmon enliven the mocha and dark chocolate flavors of the wine—creating a delectable combination.

Additionally, the crispy, roasted asparagus spears and carrots bring forward subtle smoky flavors from the Syrah; this is a nice contrast against the brighter raspberry flavors of the Grenache. Finally, the rich olive oil compliments the silky texture of the wine and gives it more weight and structure, just like the salmon does.

The rosemary in the mashed potatoes brightens the spices in the wine, making the raspberry and red cherry notes mimic fruit tart flavors. Texturally, even though the creaminess of the mashed potatoes matches the velvety texture of the wine, the starchiness still picks up on the dryness; this creates a delicate balance between the velvet texture while sipping and the nice, dry aftertaste. – Melissa Vogt, Food Correspondent

Spice Crusted Salmon

Spice Crusted Salmon, Roasted Vegetables, and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

 Serves: 2 people / Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour

Wine Pairing: Shadow Run Vineyards – “Shadow Dance” – 2011 (Grenache, Syrah, and Petite Sirah)


Spice Crusted Salmon

2 six ounce Atlantic salmon filets

2 tb butter, melted

Ethiopian spice blend (Mekelesha):

½ tb ground cardamom

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/8 tsp salt



  • Preheat the oven to 500°.
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter and roll each piece of salmon around in it. When both of the salmon pieces are coated in butter, sprinkle the Ethiopian spice blend (Mekelesha) on all sides—except the skin side on the bottom; use the entire spice blend.
  • When the oven is preheated, place a lightly oiled pan (cast iron, preferably), into the oven for 10 minutes to preheat; this way the pan will be hot when you put the salmon in it, which will sear the salmon nicely around the edges.
  • When the pan is hot, put the salmon in it and place it into the 500° oven; immediately reduce the heat to 275°.
  • Roast the salmon at 275° for exactly 14 minutes.  Serve on top of rosemary mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables.


Roasted Vegetables

¼ c olive oil

1/8 tsp coarse black pepper

1/8 tsp salt

¼ onion, cut in rings

1 carrot, thinly sliced

roughly 20 asparagus spears



  • Place the asparagus and sliced carrots in a baking dish. Top with onion rings.
  • Pour the ¼ cup olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the vegetables at 500° for 25 minutes.
  • When you put the salmon in the oven and turn it down to 275°, continue cooking the vegetables for another 10 minutes, alongside the salmon.
  • Serve with salmon and rosemary mashed potatoes.


Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

3 medium sized red potatoes

2 tb heavy cream

2 tb butter, melted

½ tb half and half

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tb rosemary, minced



  • Boil the potatoes until soft—about 10 minutes. (Do this step when you put the salmon into the oven.)
  • When the potatoes are soft, put them into an electric mixer bowl. Add the heavy cream, melted butter, and half and half. Mix until smooth.
  • When the potatoes are mashed, add the salt, pepper, and rosemary. Serve with salmon and roasted vegetables.


For more wine country recipes and pairing ideas from Shadow Run Winery, visit their website.

Sundance B & B – New to the Back Roads of Paso Robles

The Back Roads of Paso Robles has many wonderful bed and breakfasts to choose from and we are happy to welcome our newest member, Sundance B & B.

Sundance B & B owners Alma and Neil are gracious hosts and offer travelers a wonderful wine country stay in their Tuscan-style villa. We invite you to read a recent blog post about Sundance B & B here.

Sundance B & B - Paso Robles, California

For a complete listing of our member Bed and Breakfasts, please click here.

Paso Robles Vineyard Update: “Veraison”

Guest blog by Matt Merrill of Pomar Junction Vineyard and Winery

It’s a bit early this year, but veraison has begun in many of the vineyards of the Paso Robles wine grape growing region.

Veraison in Paso Robles 2013 - Pomar Junction Winery

The vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA are currently transitioning into a different phase of growth.  The grapes on the vines are coming out of a period of berry growth and into the exciting period of berry ripening.  This viticulture period is known as véraison in the wine world.  Véraison is a French term that means “the onset of ripening”, although it is more known for the change of color of the grape berries.  For red grape varietals the change in color is easy to spot as the green clusters have a few berries change to a light pink color.  Those berries will darken and the rest of the cluster will follow suit until the entire cluster is fully darkened and the grape skins begin to soften.  The white grape varietals are little more difficult to spot if they are going through véraison.  The biggest change is the feel of the berries as they begin to soften, but the clusters also begin to yellow a bit.

Besides the incomparable beauty of the clusters of multi-colored grapes hanging full on the vines, it is an exciting time in the vineyard because this signals that the upcoming harvest is approaching.  The earlier the onset of véraison, typically the earlier harvest will be.   This season the change in color is on the early side in Paso Robles.  This has winemakers gearing up for what could be an early harvest. And while we can’t believe it’s been almost a whole year already, we look forward to the hustle, bustle and excitement harvest brings.

Veraison of the Touriga Nacional at Pomar Junction in Paso Robles, CA  2013

Touriga Nacional at Pomar Junction Vineyard and Winery