Wine + Peace
Chenoa Ashton-Lewis & Will Basanta

Ashanta Wines

Mawu 2020





Production Notes

In the arena of co-ferments, Ashanta is light years ahead of the competition. Take Mawu (70% Merlot, 30% Chardonnay), which offers a polychromatic view of Grebennikoff Vineyard, a 3.5-acre organic site located at the foot of Sonoma Mountain. But, truthfully, co-fermentation is only part of the story behind Mawu’s reverberant style. The rest is a matter of inspired cellar work — a marriage of traditional technique and fresh ideas. Let’s break it down. Half of the Merlot is foot tread and direct pressed (which is to say, handled like a rosé — all juice, no skins). And as for the Chardonnay, only the skins and stems go into the fermenters (à la orange wine) — no direct-pressed juice. Finally, the remaining 50% of the Merlot is handled in a more conventional red wine fashion (equal parts whole cluster and crushed/de-stemmed), providing a firm and satisfying structure. In short, Mawu is more than a co-ferment. It’s a new perspective. 96 cases produced. Zero sulfur additions. 12.5% abv.

Mawu - 2020
Liquid Magic Eye: shimmering layers of raspberries, rose hips and zingy herbs. With each sip new dimensions emerge.

Deep roots and new ideas. These are the defining traits of Ashanta, which has arrived on the scene with the galvanizing force of a movement. It also helps explain its founders’ combination of chutzpah and unfussy grace. Don’t blink: Chenoa Ashton-Lewis and Will Basanta are about to change California wine as you know it. The Ashton-Lewis wine story begins in the 1970s when Chenoa’s grandparents plant a vineyard atop Sonoma Mountain. Fast-forward to 2017, this 50-year-old family legacy is critically endangered when the Nun’s Fire ravages the property. But from hardship comes new beginnings: Having learned of a few surviving vines in 2019, Chenoa and Will drive up from LA, where both work in the film industry, to harvest the fruit. The resulting wine — an experimental co-ferment of Syrah and Pinot Noir — marks the birth of Ashanta, and sets the tone for their deeply personal, mission-driven project. The couple produced their first commercial vintage the following year at the Glen Ellen facility of natural wine pioneer, Tony Coturri. They share Coturri’s uncompromising philosophy — their wines are zero-zero (no SO2 additions), unfined, unfiltered, and fermented with native yeast. 

Chenoa Ashton-Lewis & Will Basanta

Ashanta Wines

Sonoma, CA

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Ashanta Wines Mawu 2020