A visit to Tolosa is inspiring. Along with grapes, they harvest sun. Next to their estate vineyards are solar panels reaching to the sky just like grapevines that provide the winery with electrical energy for the next 25 years. What their solar system saves the planet is equal to all the smog that 2600 cars produce. Instead of pesticides that also get rid of the good pests (the productive ones), they foster a balance of beneficial insects. This means pests are controlled naturally by predators and some pests are even encouraged to survive because they eat potentially dangerous weeds. Every drop of water used is returned to the vineyards and their tools and tractors are designed to multi task, reducing fuel use and pollution while respecting the soil.
But, back to wine, because this is the best part. If you haven’t yet tried a barrel fermented Chardonnay, put that on your list. You never know which style you prefer until you try of ’em. What’s interesting about this process is how it brings out the natural flavors of the grape and elevates your opinion of Chardonnay even if you prefer the big reds. What is beautiful about this wine is the honey and roasted hazelnut flavors balanced with tropical fruit and the creamy richness of crème brulee. Imagine the smells wafting into your yard ever so softly if you lived near a French bakery. Ya, that’s it!