Cowboy dreams of owning a cattle ranch brought Vintner Robin Baggett to Edna Valley. The cold Pacific wind that sweeps down the coast into the transverse valley and a myriad of soils derived from an ancient seabed made him realize he was on a frontier of a different sort. Tolosa is the expression of his commitment to spare no effort to craft nuanced and balanced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of distinctive character to rival any in the world.
The winner of a gold medal and 93 points at the 2020 Sommeliers Choice Awards makes it an ideal choice for sommeliers to order from your favorite Los Angeles restaurants.
1772 Pinot Noir - Winner of a gold medal and 93 points at the 2020 Sommeliers Choice Awards
When Tolosa was founded, they chose the name 1772 in honor of the year Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded. Today, they carry on the Franciscan’s legacy of winemaking in the exceptional terroir that is Edna Valley. This Pinot Noir is a medley of Tolosa’s estate vineyard Edna Ranch. The estate vineyard is spread throughout the Edna Valley, producing six unique vineyard sections with 60 soil types and a myriad of microclimates. The goal is to preserve the characteristics of the coolest AVA in California by showcasing the tension and acidity in the wine. They harvest the fruit by hand, utilize an optical sorting machine, and ferment in open top stainless steel tanks. The wine was aged in a combination of new and neutral French oak barrels for 9 months. On such a vintage, this wine will show the bright red fruit common in Edna Valley as well as the freshness that comes with the cool coastal climate. Tannins are present, and they will soften nicely with a little bit of bottle aging.
The 1772 Chardonnay is Tolosa’s classic Chardonnay, as it captures the essence of their estate vineyard, Edna Ranch. Tolosa’s estate vineyard is located in the cool climate Edna Valley. The Edna Valley lies within a transverse valley, an old extension of the sea leading to Morro Bay. The vines receive a moderating influence from the Pacific Ocean preserving the natural aromas and crisp acidity in the grapes. The cooler 2018 vintage allowed the grapes to hang on the vine longer to yield intense flavor. This Chardonnay is barrel fermented, with a variety of yeasts used throughout the different lots to enhance the complexities in the wine. Early on during the ageing process, the wine received Batonnage twice a week for 3 months to build a richer mid-palate. The wine aged for 9 months in French oak barrels and completed 100% malolactic fermentation. The Chardonnay maintains a fresh acidity similar to the wines produced in Burgundy, while showcasing an expressive California fruit profile.
Tolosa Vineyards Edna Valley
Edna Valley is nestled amongst the northwest-southeast running volcanic hills of San Luis Obispo County and is the frontier for the most complex cool-climate varietals in California, especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The transverse valley is an extension of the sea, with a funnel leading past Morro Bay, 3,600 feet below the Pacific. The cold Pacific wind sweeps down the coast and into the valley and vineyards, creating a microclimate ideal for ripening sensitive Pinot Noir grapes. Oscillations in warm days and cold nights are further improved by the long growing season caused by mild winters and cool summers. Edna Valley, the coolest appellation in California, has all the elements for crafting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines to rival any in the world.
In Edna Valley, much as the soil and the climate come together, the passions of vintner Robin Baggett have converged. Dreams of owning a cattle ranch brought him back to the area almost 40 years ago; the revelation of the valley as a remarkable place for Burgundian varietals ignited his zeal to build complex, nuanced and balanced wines of distinction. Robin and his partner Bob Schiebelhut began planting vineyards in 1988, purchasing several historic family ranches in the valley over time. Together with Jim Efird, now retired, they founded Tolosa in 1998.
Tolosa Tasting Room
Tolosa and Robin have been true pioneers in the wine industry. Tolosa was an early adopter of the direct to trade (DTT) model, enlisting its own team of sales representatives to introduce restaurants and retailers in California to its wines rather than relying on a distributor. In 2006, Robin and his wife Michelle founded Alpha Omega winery in Napa Valley, with the vision of creating world class Bordeaux wines. Working with winemaker Jean Hoefliger and procuring prized grapes from the many appellations of Napa Valley, they have established a winery that handcrafts finesse-driven, complex and balanced wines expressing the aromatic profile of the best Napa Valley has to offer. Exceptional wines and the finest hospitality are the hallmarks of the essence of Tolosa. A true believer in terroir and the deepest evocation of place, Tolosa’s mission is to discover the best sites in the valley and, through meticulous craftsmanship, create exceptional Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays to present to guests in a manner that offers the purest expression of Edna Valley.
How they started…
Vintner Robin Baggett returned to Edna Valley almost 40 years ago with a law degree and cowboy dreams of owning a cattle ranch like his grandfather. Having graduated from Cal Poly in 1973, he knew the area. He bought a historic ranch in the valley but quickly realized he was on a frontier of a different sort. Being in a region with a grape-growing history that stretches back to the 18th century, when Franciscans at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa produced some of California’s first wines of distinction, planting wine grapes was a natural choice.
Vintner Robin Baggett
Robin and his partner Bob Schiebelhut began planting vineyards in 1988, adding several other historic family ranches in the valley over time. Together with Jim Efird, now retired, they founded Tolosa in 1998. Robin’s passion for wine making was born, and his wine journey began. In 2006, Robin embarked on the next stage of his adventure. Together with Michelle, who would become his wife, he founded Alpha Omega in Napa Valley, with the vision of creating world class Bordeaux wines.
Procuring prized grapes from the many appellations of Napa Valley, they have established a winery that handcrafts finesse-driven, complex and balanced wines expressing the aromatic profile of the best Napa Valley has to offer. In 2017, Robin launched his first international wine venture with Perinet winery in the Priorat region of Spain. Like Tolosa, Perinet is focused on estate wines from a very special site in a very special region. Born and raised in Salinas, California, Robin was a three-sport varsity athlete in high school who attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo on a baseball scholarship. At Cal Poly, he was chosen Most Valuable Player and a two-time All-Conference catcher. Elected Student Body President his senior year, he graduated with honors in 1973 with a degree in Business Administration. Electing not to play professional baseball, Robin went to law school. Robin earned a law degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1976 where he was on the Law Review and graduated 10th in a class of 530.
Tolosa partner and consulting winemaker Jean Hoefliger has been on his own journey to uncover the secrets of terroir in disparate parts of the globe.
Following clerkships, Robin worked for Morrison and Foerster as an associate in their San Francisco office and then joined Sinsheimer, Schiebelhut & Baggett in San Luis Obispo as a partner in 1981, a firm he was associated with for 35 years. Besides wine and law, Robin plays golf where he carries a 4 handicap, is a member of Santa Barbara’s Rancheros Vistadores (the oldest trail ride in the country) where he is a four-time reserve All-Around Rodeo Champion, and operates a registered Brangus commercial cowherd in San Luis Obispo. He served as President of the San Luis Obispo Vintners for five years and the Rutherford Dust Society in Napa Valley for two years. Currently, he is a board member of the Wine Institute, Napa Valley Vintners, The Land Trust of Napa County, and the First Tee of Monterey County.
Both their pinot noir and chardonnay won a gold medal at America’s leading wine competition for restaurants lists. You can buy their wines at Nonna's (Westlake), Valley Hunt Club (Pasadena), Casa Del Rey (San Dimas) in Los Angeles and you can also buy online from https://www.tolosawinery.com/.