The why, the what and the how of...

Conceito (Rita Marques)

“The potential is there for the Douro to emerge as one of the great, classic table wine regions in the world”, says Jamie Goode, British wine journalist, and Rita Marques is leading the pack.

Rita Marques, is the face and soul of Conceito wines in the Douro Valley in Portugal. She started her own label in 2005, working with grapes from her mother Carla Ferreira’s properties, and the results so far have been very impressive. Rita’s grandfather and mother used to sell their grapes to the port houses, especially Taylor’s, in this area.

In Portugal she gained important exposure by working with Portuguese legend, Dirk Niepoort. After being disappointed with her chosen career path at the time of mechanical engineering, she spent a considerable amount of time outside Portugal with studies in Bordeaux (she worked with the famous Denis Dubourdieu), work experience in California (Château Montelana) and winemaking ventures in South Africa and New Zealand.

The Conceito range produces approximately 120,000 bottles a year all coming from four estate vineyards (in the Teja valley), where climatic conditions are a little cooler than the rest of the Douro Superior. The total hectarage is made up from 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, only used for whites. The vineyards are all organically farmed with zero use of herbicides and half of these are over 50 years of age. Rita likes to pick early to preserve the acids and freshness. The red varieties are grown on schist soils whilst most of the white is on Granite (at higher altitudes to the schist). The oldest vines are 80 years old and includes 2 hectares of pre-phylloxera vines. The main grape varieties are Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Bastardo and Rabigato but the whites and reds are typically field blends of a dozen to twenty different grape varieties.

Rita follows through with her non-interventionalist philosophy in the cellar. Grapes are cooled when they reach the winery and pressed in a pneumatic press. Wines ferment in stainless steel and then, depending on the cuvée, spend varying times in varying ages of French oak barrels, with periodic bâtonnage.

The motto at the estate is to make wines that contain purity, elegance and authenticity – Rita and her team deliver this in spades.

Our selection at Great Domaines

If you don't see what you are looking for please contact us to order.