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.
Quality from 2019 is stunning. It was a warm and extremely dry growing season with rainfall down significantly (39%), making it one of the driest years in the past century. Summer was 3 degrees warmer than average. Yields were impacted by the dry season, leading to smaller berries and bunches. Importantly quality is brilliant producing richly flavoured, intense wines.
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 March 22nd 2019 and crushed into an open-top fermenter. Wild yeast from the vineyard were left to naturally ferment with the ferment temperature reaching 26 degrees C. Hand-pumpovers were employed twice daily during the fermentation. The alcoholic fermentation was complete in 11 days and then native malolactic bacteria fermented the natural malic acid into lactic acid. The wine remained in contact with submerged skins in a sealed vessel for exactly 365 days. On March 20th 2020 the free-run was drained 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.
2019 CCCLXV Durif 365 is think inky purple-black in colour.
The lively aroma is rich and deep with characters of brandied fruit cake, potpourri, blackstrap molasses, clove spice, blueberries and cherry ripe.
The full-bodied palate is immense. Bright fruited with solid depth and intensity across all facets. The spectrum of flavours is almost limitless. Tannins are hefty but being natural, they are integrated and don’t dominate thanks to the equally vast fruit generosity. The wine is amazingly complex considering it’s had no oak or oxidative maturation. Generous in every aspect, the wine is notably harmonious. The finish is equally lavish in length. This is an audacious wine that can be enjoyed now in its early splendour or equally cellared for a decade or two.