The Wine: Zazen Zinfandel 2020
Ashanta Wines Zazen Zinfandel is a red natural wine made from 100% Zinfandel grapes grown in the Sierra Foothills, California. Hand-sorted grapes were de-stemmed and crushed into an open-top fermenter. Two weeks maceration then basket pressed into French neutral Oak. Aged in barrel for 11.5 months. Bottled with no additions or subtractions. Unfined, unfiltered, zero SO2. Tiger Striped Fig, just ripe summer Mulberries, Sierra Alpine Incense Cedar, Black raspberry bramble.
The Producer: Ashanta Wines
"5th generation Oakland native and 3rd generation winemaker, Chenoa Ashton-Lewis, and cinematographer, Will Basanta, got fully bitten by the winemaking bug in October of 2019 when last minute they bombed up to Sonoma Mountain from Los Angeles, on the news that Chenoa’s family vineyard still had unsold grapes that were quickly turning to bird fodder. With the help of family and friends they jumped in, picking and crushing to make an experimental Syrah and Pinot Noir co-ferment. The single barrel was then stored in a tent for 8 months on the family’s organic, 50-year-old vineyard, planted by Chenoa’s grandparents in the early 1970s.
In 2020 when quarantine hit, Chenoa and Will once again escaped to Glen Ellen. In the early spring while wandering the remains of the Pinot Noir vineyard destroyed in the 2017 Nuns Fire, Chenoa and Will found new vines alive and growing horizontally, buried and abandoned in a tall uncut jungle of grass. Inspired, they immediately and painstakingly walked row by row discovering and staking the new vines. To their surprise, by the early summer 160 vines that were once seemingly dead had been reclaimed and were bearing clusters of grapes.
Through this magical discovery of fermentation and natural renaissance, they became even more fascinated with the resilience of nature and connected with neighbor Tony Coturri on Sonoma Mountain.
For harvest 2020, Chenoa and Will were shepherds to their first commercial vintage at the historic Coturri Winery, introducing their label Ashanta Wines.
Ashanta Wines abides by zero:zero, traditional winemaking practices and makes a full range of bespoke wines. From experimental multi-fruit co-ferments, Pet-Nats, skin contact whites, field blends and elegant California Reds. Our wines are terroir-driven expressions of Pachamama and her seasons.
Unfined. Unfiltered. Wild yeast fermentations. Zero S02.
We source our fruit from family-operated vineyards and work with growers who farm with organic and/or biodynamic practices. We hand pick some of our growers’ vineyards and sometimes, we forage for wild fruit in both the wilderness and urban spaces.
Ashanta Wines is currently located in Sebastopol, CA and Los Angeles, as they work with vineyards along the spine of California’s expansive landscape." (source: Ashanta Wines)
The Region: Sonoma County