This has to be the most way out winery name of the century. It prompted me to email South African-born and trained winemaker/owner Remi Guise asking to explain its derivation and/ or meaning, and he courteously responded with a reference to Judas as ‘the greatest black sheep of all time', and a non-specific explanation of ‘tripe' as ‘challenging in style'. He added, ‘I hope this sheds some light, or dark, on the brand'. The wines provide a better answer, managing to successfully harness highly unusual techniques at various points of their elevage. His day job as winemaker at Naturaliste Vintners, the large Margaret River contract winemaking venture of Bruce Dukes, provides the technical grounding, allowing him to throw the ‘how to' manual out of the window when the urge arises. His final words on his Marrow Syrah Malbec are: ‘So, suck the marrow from the bone, fry the fat, and savour the warm, wobbly bits'.
tripe.Iscariot is an experiment in flavour, texture and style. Inspired by nose to tail eating, “berry to stalk” winemaking is the judicious use of skins, stalks, seeds, lees, whole-bunches and crushed fruit. The result being wines which represent the “whole beast”, an approach to varieties and wine style which seeks to challenge the over-purified and homogenous industry standard......
.....to elaborate, I started tripe.Iscariot for two reasons: the first is a fairly typical lifelong dream for a winemaker, to own and drive my own wine label, thus being able to make whatever creative or philosophical decisions I want in order to make wines that mean something to me. The second was, as a wine buyer, an almost all-encompassing boredom with the limited and homogenous range of wines and styles in more affordable price ranges in the modern market.
The idea was simple: make something that inspires me and at the same time offers the modern wine drinker an alternative, and if I'm lucky: affect some change and make heterogeneity in the wine market cool.
Thus tripe.Iscariot was born.
As a winemaker I've spent a great deal of time tasting purified juices and the purified wines that are made from them. I've also spent a great deal of time chewing on skins, cracking seeds between my teeth and sucking on stalks, forcing me to ask: "Why are we getting rid of all this flavour?". Nose to tail eating has always held a special place in my heart, and the concept is very much the same: use every part of the beast to make the most interesting, complex and truly nourishing meals.
Throw both ideas into the cauldron and you have tripe.Iscariot: "Berry to Stalk" winemaking, using "The Whole Beast" and crafting wines which seek to challenge and change the status quo.
The rest was easy, I already lived and worked in Margaret River, one of the most interesting and developing wine regions in Australia and the world, synonymous with seriously high quality wine and a climate almost too good to be true.
The varieties I have chosen to use are not only grapes I happen to enjoy working with, and wines I enjoy drinking, but are varieties I believe are most subject to being caught in the "style-stasis" of the modern wine market.
Each wine has had the tripe.Iscariot concept specifically and uniquely applied to it in order to work with that grape's natural characteristics and to explore new realms of flavour and texture within the resulting wine.
So, suck the marrow from the bone, fry the fat, and savour all the warm wobbly bits.