Ashanta &

Ashanta 'Minotaure' Tempranillo Mendocino 2021

Regular price$42.00
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Press 2 • March 2024 Direct Press Selection

Ashanta is a project led by Chenoa Ashton-Lewis and Will Basanta in Sonoma County.
Chenoa's connection with wine is strong (her grandparents have been grape growers in Sonoma since the 1960's) and in 2019, they decided to have a hand at crushing grapes to make wine. With the help and inspiration from OG Tony Coturri, the couple released their first release in 2020. No small feat to start a new project during pandemic lockdowns, but factor in extreme weather events in recent years, and their resilience and commitment is even clearer. These are expressive, unique and characterful wines.

The tempranillo for this wine is grown in a high elevation site in Round Valley, Mendocino (one of the few areas in the county that is not directly influenced by the ocean). The continental climate in the valley regularly sees 45+ degree diurnal shifts in the summer, with highs nearing triple digits and lows in the mid 50s. This all adds up to this wine's gutsy character. Once in the winery, grapes were pressed 20% whole cluster, 30% direct press and the rest was destemmed and crushed into open top fermenters. Fermented for nine days on the skins then pressed into a stainless tank for one week then gravity fed into French neutral oak. Aged in barrel for 14 months. Zero sulfur added, as in all of their wines.

There's a lot happening here for the senses, from the savory, woodsy sarsaparilla spice tone to the ripe plum fruit under the grasp of firm tannins that give this wine texture and structure. I personally love this rustic yet decidedly Californian vibe. Decanting or letting it get a little air will help it unwind after opening, it was even better a few hours after we cracked the bottle. It would be a perfect high-brow/low-brow pairing with a cheesy smash burger with onions. Bruno Sant’Anna

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