Do you love red blends but feeling like you're in a bit of a rut? Looking to try something new? Let us introduce you to the rare dry style reds of Portugal. The Duoro Valley is famous for its sweet fortified wines, with the dry styles previously just enjoyed by locals. In the 1990s the area experienced a renaissance in the quality of export production and now offers complex, unique, food-friendly flavor profiles all at a fantastic price point. At $17 a bottle what's not to love?
The blend is made up of entirely indigenous varietals. Touriga Nacional is Portugal's answer to Cabernet Sauvignon. This varietal has bold dark fruit flavors, hints of spice, leather, and violet, firm tannins, and has great aging potential. Touriga Franca lifts aromatics and it is lighter in body which is why it works so well blended with Touriga Nacional and Roriz (Tempranillo clone native to Portugal).
Conceito is located in the Portuguese town of Vila Nova de Foz Côa. A family owned winery that was founded in the 1940s with 86 hectares. Rita Ferreira Marqués, a young winemaker who has studied in, Bordeaux, New Zealand, South Africa, and California leads this project with the aim of producing quality wines by fusing tradition with innovation.
Aging: 16 months in French Oak
Tasting Notes: Red wine. Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz(Tempranillo) plus dozens of others from very old vines. The perfect balance between accessibility in its youth while still showcasing tight structure and deep character. Black fruits, spice, this is a perfect red to pair with stews and braised dishes.
The 2016 Contraste Tinto is a field blend mostly (80%) from 40-year-old vines with Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Roriz comprising the last 20% combined (from 60-year-old vines). It was aged for 16 months in used French oak and comes in at 13.5% alcohol. A fine follow-up to the 2015, this might even be a little more concentrated. As always, that's relative as this is a very elegant bottling, not a jammy one. It may not have quite as much zip and zest as the 2015, but these are high-altitude vines. It does pretty well in that regard too. There's a real backbone too, but the tannins are controlled. Just recently bottled, this has plenty of room to improve. It may be one of the best Contraste reds yet, but let's be conservative just now. It will certainly be better next year. ~90 Wine Advocate
This powerfully structured, young wine is dense and shot through with tannins as well as dark black fruits. It has weight and considerable potential as its tannins begin to soften. Drink this intense wine from 2020 ~90 Wine Enthusiast
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