Conceito Contraste Vinho Tinto
Red Blend from the Douro, Portugal. RP90 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Contraste red is an old-vine field blend aged for 20 months in a mixture of stainless steel tanks (30%) and used (second and third use) French oak barrels. Many of the 2012s I am seeing are rather restrained and somewhat light, particularly at this level. This one is impressive, hardly seeming to miss a beat off of the 2011 (granting that they are not currently side-by-side). At least in its youth, it seems surprisingly full-bodied for the second wine in what is generally a lighter-styled vintage, reasonably deep and concentrated. It is also focused and quite well-structured. The restrained oak treatment gives it a feel of transparency and purity as well. Showing some power, too, it preens in its youthful vibrancy just now. As the tannins gradually moderate, the tasty fruit comes to the fore. It will never, to be sure, be the biggest, most powerful or most obvious red – but Conceito rarely goes for the obvious anyway. It is a beautifully crafted bargain in an Old World style that should drink well for the rest of the decade, at the least. It may do quite a bit better, but let's see where we are when we get there. It may be approachable sooner, as indicated on the drinking window, but frankly, I think this will show a lot closer to peak around 2017. Given the price point, this is quite a fine deal and a very fine performance in the vintage. Among other things, Conceito seems remarkably consistent these days, even when the vintages are not.
The way that Conceito Vinhos conceives of the wine, the deep understanding of their region, is the starting point for the project–inspiration for their story. Hence the Brand (Conceito = Concept). Port wine has monopolized wine production there since the 18th Century, producing a landscape of extraordinary beauty. But only recently people become aware of the tremendous potential of the eastern Douro.
Firstly, with the opening up of better access routes; and then with the table wine revolution. It has largely been this latter factor that has opened the way to a universe of specificities along the river course, a huge valley that can no longer be seen and cultivated as a uniform and undifferentiated whole. The wine will inevitably come to exhibit its various “terroirs”. Understanding them, working properly their widely differing altitudes, soils and microclimates is a journey from which there is no turning back, and one upon which Conceito Vinhos wholeheartedly embark. In search of the freshness and balance of terrain. That is the Concept!
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