In the past I have only tried a varietal wine made from the Bastardo grape here in the Algarve where it has been grown for many years and is mostly used to make rosé.
I have often looked at this unusual label from Conceito Vinhos of the Douro on the shelf at Apolonia (€22.95) and finally decided to give it a try this week.
First of all, a bit about the grape and the winery; Bastardo was once a commonly grown grape in the Douro region, but in the 18th century it was slowly abandoned by most producers due to the pale coloured and early maturing wine it produces, certainly not what was needed for the production of Port.
Conceito Wines however, a producer owned by members of the Ferreira family, has some old vines of the variety dating back to the 1970’s and winemaker Rita Ferreira Marques decided to make a Bastardo varietal which has found a niche market over the years.
This is quite unlike any other wine out there, the colour may remind us of a pale Pinto Noir or Gamay but on the nose there are earthy and herby notes with a hint of fresh red fruit. In the mouth, the wine is smooth and fresh, the main flavour being strawberries, leading to a dry and persistent finish.