The Wine: Lounge Lizard Rosé 2021
Proudly dancing to the beat of its own steel drum, what was intended to be a light and simple rosé, decided to wander. Our lackadaisical rosé ferment hero took nearly six months to go dry, and along the way it rode bareback on a wild mare through an alpine valley in bloom, dined on every untamed blackberry thicket crowding the full winding length of the great lazy river, and crawled on its hands and knees into a cozy rabbit den to wind away the night to the hoots and plucking of a better than average woodland critter jug band. Well...after a long hibernation with those anthropomorphised critters, our rosé ferment finally went dry. We named it 'Lounge Lizard,' because of its laziness, but we mean that as a compliment. In tarot parlance, the 'Lounge Lizard' would be 'The Fool,' and we could all use a reminder to let our inner 'Fool' flag fly: cast off the worries of the world, if only for a bit of day drinking. The '21 'Lounge Lizard' Rosé is wild, rocky, and bounding with a just-pied-in-the-face frisson of big blackberry energy. Enjoy in the sun, in good company, and in quantity. (source: Iruai)
The Producer: Iruai
Iruai Winery (“ear-oo-eye" … the artist formerly known as Methode Sauvage) was started in 2013 by Chad and Michelle Westbrook Hinds in Berkeley, CA as a gypsy natural wine project, before laying down roots in the mythical Shasta-Cascade mountains of Siskiyou County.
Trading in the urban winery hustle for the vigneron life, we are exploring avant garde vineyard planting and rehabilitation techniques using the permaculture methods laid out by Masanobu Fukuoka, while formulating our own “chaos organics” method of re-enchanting the land. Truly unlike anywhere else in California, Western Siskiyou County feels like a cross between Switzerland and Montana, cut with a rain shadow from Mount Shasta that divides it starkly between high mountain prairie and dense alpine forests.
Finding ourselves in largely untested grape growing territory, with high elevations and a continental climate, we have turned Iruai into exploration and celebration of esoteric varieties that flourish in the Alps of Europe. While we work to grow our Western Siskiyou County estate projects, we purchase fruit and lease vineyards throughout the Shasta-Cascade, from the Trinity Alps of California to the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon. We seek to make wine with a sense of place by employing no additives, and removing no character. Our goal in the vineyard is to let the vines thrive like they would in the wild, and in the cellar, to shepherd each ferment through its own natural development and evolution.
The Region: Siskiyou County, California