The wine world is a wonderful place, but sometimes the name of a grape in one place is different than in another. Take Portugal’s Bastardo grape for example – it’s much better known (to wine geeks anyways) as Trousseau, one of the two black-skinned grapes that dominate in the Jura region of eastern France.
Bastardo not an uncommon grape in the Douro region – in fact, it was once the most widely planted grape variety in the Douro but it is now a relative rarity. The Douro is best known as the home of Port wines, and like Port, the grapes were crushed by foot in traditional granite lagares (large, low-sided, open-topped grape crushing and fermentation vessels), with no destemming and no added yeast or SO2. Once the alcoholic fermentation is complete the wine is racked in stainless steel tanks.
Pale-colored, light-bodied, yet intense with aromas of red fruits, herbs, sweet spices, and vanilla, this is perhaps the opposite of everything you’d imagine about Portuguese red wine. The small number of 50-year-old Bastardo vines was a passion project of winemaker Rita Ferriera’s parents, and she’s taken the wine to another level.
Very pale in color, it looks almost like a rosé. It has a beautiful, fresh, aromatic nose with a nice herby green edge to the bright cherry fruit. The palate is remarkable: even though this is a pale wine, it is intense, with a rounded texture and lovely spiciness. Fresh, super-elegant, and persistent; this is a beautiful wine.
Conceito is a relatively new producer based in the Douro Superior. Young winemaker Rita Ferriera is allowed full license to do her best with the grapes from her mother Carla Ferriera’s properties, and the results so far have been very impressive. There are four estate vineyards, all in the Teja valley, which has climatic conditions a little cooler than the rest of the Douro Superior – three fifty-acre vineyards: Quinta da Veiga, Quinta do Chão-do-Pereiro, Quinta do Cabido, and a 25 acre vineyard at the top of the valley where there’s some granite, used solely for whites.
The first wines from the Conceito (which translates as ‘concept’) label were made in 2005; prior to this the grapes were sold to other producers.