The wines of Conceito   
An exciting new producer in Portugal's Douro region


Conceito is a relatively new producer based in the Douro Superior. Young winemaker Rita Ferriera is allowed full licence 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: Quinta da Veiga (20 hectares), Quinta do Chão-do-Pereiro (20 hectares), Quinta do Cabido (23 hectares) and a 10 hectare 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. I’m particularly keen on the unusual and amazing Bastardo, with its pale colour and haunting, leafy, spicy perfume, but the Douro white is the wine that has caught the critics’ attention in Portugal.

Conceito Branco 2009 Douro
13.5% alcohol. Distinctively packaged. Taut and intense nose with fresh citrus and grapefruit pith notes, as well as some white peach and intense toastiness. The palate is broad but well defined with nuts, toast, citrus, spice and good acidity. Really fine and Burgundian with potential for development. 93/10 (02/11)

Conceito Tinto 2008 Douro
14% alcohol. A lovely expression of the Douro: sweetly fruited nose with a hint of new oak and fresh dark cherry and spice notes. The palate has ripe cherry and berry fruits, but also lovely fresh acidity and elegant structure. Finely wrought already, but with potential for evolution. 93/100 (02/11)

Conceito Contraste Tinto 2008 Douro
13.5% alcohol. Attractive sweet black cherry and blackberry nose, with fresh mineral and tar notes. Quite complex. The palate has nice balance between the sweet fruit and some gravelly, mineral savouriness, with grippy tannins. Fresh, taut and delicious. 92/100 (02/11)

Conceito Bastardo 2009 VR Duriense
13% alcohol. An early maturing variety with weak colour that was popular in the 18th century, but has now steadily abandoned. Pale cherry red colour. Wonderful sweet aromatics: warm herbs, cherry fruit. So pure and elegant with a leafy edge. The palate is smooth, warm and sweetly fruited. Light and superbly elegant with lovely cherry and herb notes, and subtle tannins. Lovely wine. 93/100 (02/11)

Conceito Vinho Branco 2008 Douro
13% alcohol. Just a beautiful white wine, reminiscent of top quality white Bordeaux. Lovely fresh aromatic  nose of grapefruit and lemon with hints of herbs and vanilla. The palate is fresh and bright with notes of herb and grapefruit, nice presence and some lemony acidity. Lovely complexity here. 92/100 (10/09)

Conceito Tinto 2007 Douro, Portugal
14% alcohol. Lovely vibrant, fresh dark cherry and raspberry nose with some floral overtones and notes of pepper and spice. The palate is fresh and cherryish with some tight plummy fruit and lovely acidity. The tannins are quite firm and there’s some spicy structure, too, as well as well integrated oak. Very youthful, this is a fresh, Burgundian style of Douro wine with lovely purity and focus, and it should age beautifully. 93/100 (10/09)

Conceito Contraste 2007 Douro, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. Deep, vivid red colour. Primary and fresh with lovely bright red berry fruits and notes of cherry and plum. There’s nice acidity here, as well as fine-grained tannic structure, lovely purity and freshness. Will be interesting to see how this evolves. 91/100 (10/09)

Conceito Bastardo 2008 VR Durienses, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. Pale colour. Very fresh with bright cherry and herb notes as well as firm, spicy, savoury structure. There’s an attractive, elegant sweet cherry perfume here with some sappy notes. Currently, the tight, grippy structure is winning out, giving the wine a slight astringency. I think this may be fantastic in two or three years, but at the moment it is hard to get, and lacks the seductive perfume of the 2007. 89/100 (10/09)

Conceito Vintage Port 2007 Douro
19.5% alcohol. Quite a Burgundian expression of Vintage Port. Initially muted, then it delivers meaty, spicy, floral (violet) dark fruits. Fresh and a bit peppery. The palate is sweet and fresh with vibrant fruit and some spicy tannins. It's a primary wine, with some substance to the sweet, pure fruit. 92/100 (10/09)

Conceito Branco 2007 Douro
Fresh lemony, toasty nose. The palate is bright with a hint of mineral reduction as well as some nice oak use. Really nice barrel-aged style. Lovely stuff. 91/100 (11/08)

Conceito 2006 Douro
Ripe sweet cherry and blackberry nose is aromatic and pure. The palate is sweet and ripe with nice purity of fruit. Very stylish and ripe with nice sweet dense fruit. A ripe, fruit driven style. 90/100 (11/08)

Conceito Bastardo 2007 Vinho Regional Durienses
Apparently 100 years ago Bastardo and Alvarilhão were the most widely planted grapes in the Douro. They don’t have a lot of colour, and this is why Sousão, a teinturier (red fleshed) variety, was introduced from Vinho Verde. This is a remarkable wine. It’s a varietal Bastardo made in lagar, with stems, and no sulfur dioxide addition. Very pale in colour, it looks 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. It’s labelled Vinho Regional because the IVDP refused the Douro appellation numerous times because this is ‘atypical’. 93/100 (11/08)

See also:

My blog entries on Portuguese wine
Tasting notes of Portuguese wines
The new Douro (series)

Wines tasted as indicated  
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