CCCLXV: the roman numeral CCCLXV corresponds to Arabic number 365. CCCLXV = 365.
CCCLXV Durif… a wine of the utmost power displaying the heightened intensity that a protracted 365 days on skins gives to this naturally concentrated and intense variety.
Durif is a naturally dark, intense, tannic variety. When made in the ‘traditional’ way of 7-14 days on skins followed by maturation in oak barrel it delivers a superb immensely full-bodied drink that is often described as ‘Shiraz on steroids’. CCCLXV Durif 365 takes this a step further. By leaving the wine on skins for an entire year and not maturing it in any oak, the result is an even more concentrated, powerful and thick inky wine. It proclaims all that Durif has to give, allowing the flavour, colour and tannin generosity of the skins to entirely egress into the wine. By bottling after pressing with no barrel maturation, there is no oak intrusion, truly allowing for the Durif grape to shine in its absolute largesse.
The 2018 vintage was superb. Winter was slightly wetter than average getting the vines off to a brilliant start leading them into Spring which was warmer and drier than average. Rain in early December refreshed the vines and ensured they remained strong and healthy for the overall dry and hot Summer. Autumn also remained dry with perfect Autumnal temperatures leading into harvest. The 2018 yields are good and the quality is excellent, a classic Barossa vintage.
CCCLXV Durif 365 is sourced from a single vineyard on the Kalleske property. The hand-pruned vines are low-yielding and are grown in shallow, sandy loam soil over superb deep red clay, providing ideal conditions for Durif.
The Durif was harvested on April 6th 2018 and crushed into a small open-top fermenter. A heading down screen was installed to submerge the skins in the juice. Wild yeast from the vineyard were left to naturally ferment with the ferment temperature reaching 31 degrees C. The alcoholic fermentation took over a month to complete and then native malolactic bacteria fermented the natural malic acid into lactic acid. The wine remained in the fermenter with submerged skins for exactly 365 days. On April 5th 2019 the free-run was drained from the fermenter into a tank and then the skins were gently pressed with pressings blended into the same tank. After settling the wine was racked and then bottled with no oak maturation.
It has a very engaging and dynamic aroma. There are dark characters of ripe black fruits, licorice, Christmas cake and boot polish. But these are perfectly balanced with spice, potpourri and candy. Lively and compelling.
On the full-bodied palate the wine delivers the same dynamism and somewhat contradiction. There is ripe plum and jam along with lively acidity and strong earthy tannins. The natural skin and perhaps seed tannins give the wine a robust framework. Whilst this wine has not seen any oak, it seems evident with an almost cedar like pseudo-oak character. The concentration of this wine continues to the finish which lingers for a long time. CCCLXV Durif 365 is an audacious wine. Bold in every respect, it can be enjoyed now in its early splendour or equally cellared for a decade or two.