Ashanta Brutal!!! Elederberry Pét-Nat
French Colombard + Wild Elderberries
Solano County + San Gabriel Mountains, California.
- African American Woman winemaker - Chenoa Ashton-Lewis.
- All natural.
- Co-Ferment Pét-Nat.
- Extremely Limited, only 25 cases made.
- Zesty alpine mystery flavored Black Forest geyser.
- Read this wines story...
"After we literally moved out of our LA flat, putting all of our belongings in storage to move into a tent in the Coturri vineyard for harvest, we drove to the San Gabriel Mountains above Los Angeles, for one last time. Throughout our backcountry hikes we had spotted wild elderberry bushes growing in the granite soils of the mountains, at an elevation of around 6500 feet and watched their growth closely. As we arrived, they had finally ripened and we pulled out our pruners cutting as much as we could fit into several 5 gallon buckets that were going to have to squeeze into our already packed cars.
Driving up Sonoma Mountain late that night, we saw the red ember glow of the first LNU Lightning Complex fires, silhouetting the ridge line of the Mayacamas, near the French Colombard vineyard we planned to pick in the following days. Our stomachs sunk, terrified that we’d made a terrible mistake leaving our perfectly adequate shelter to live in a tent in the epicenter of fire season.
Luckily, the French Colombard was protected because of it’s micro-climate, the breeze from the San Pablo Bay pushed the smoke north away from the vineyard. After an evacuation notice was lifted, we picked 2.5 tons of the French Colombard on August 22, 2020, reserving .5 tons for our sparkling Elderberry co-ferment.
The French Colombard and wild Elderberry were foot stomped separately and the juice co-fermented in neutral french oak for 9 days, and was bottled at 1.5 brix.
Days after bottling the co-ferment, the Bobcat Fire struck the San Gabriel Mountains, scorching the forest where we harvested the Elderberries just weeks before.
Overnight, the habitat that bore us fruits for our first wine of 2020, were altered for generations, if not forever. This wild Elder co-ferment is a time stamp to that special jewel of the upper San Gabriels. As a true experiment and with a small single barrel cuvée we could not think of better label than Brutal, which was suggested and bequeathed to us by Tony Coturri.
With only 25 cases, our Ashanta Brutal, is a taste of a place that may take decades to recover its natural state. We feel honored to have been able to hold on to a piece of the San Gabriel Mountains, and share with you all the wonders of a magnificent alpine landscape full of canyons, swimming holes, waterfalls, rushing creeks, incense cedar, bristlecone pine, and indigenous wild Elderberries."