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2018 Bastardo, Conceito Vinhos

2018 Bastardo, Conceito Vinhos

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Easy to see what the fuss is about, Rita is not trying to make a super-concentrated, alcohol-heavy wine, thank goodness (easily done in the Douro heat); instead this is a very expressive, pure and complex wine which is a delight.  Gorgeous colour, ruby red with purple hints.  Fragrant, quite floral – violets, rose, red fruits.  In the palate it’s a complex blend of red fruits, cherry, with earthy spice and powerful, ripe, moreish tannins.

Originally Bastardo (Trousseau in the Jura), was a useful vine for Douro farmers to plant, it ripened early and produced good levels of alcohol; the production was for Port and they were paid using a formula of which a significant factor was alcohol levels. These days most Bastardo plantings have been replaced with more modern varieties, save for those older vineyards where it is harder to grow later ripening varieties, or where the terrain and size of the plots has put off those wishing to change.

Bastardo has now found a niche where it thrives, and modern winemakers such as Rita Marques at Conceito can get the very best out of it. Rita has a small vineyard originally planted by her grandfather 50 years ago, it sits at 450 metres which allows the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, cooler nights enable a more nuanced, complex wine to be produced. The (non-certified) organically grown grapes are picked early; certainly much earlier than her grandfather would have done. Grapes are foot-trodden in a concrete lagar with stems and a wild fermentation is allowed. It spends 10 months in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

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