A Douro Grüner: Conceito Brut Nature 2012
Rather improbably, Port country is home to one of my favourite Portuguese sparkling wine houses, Vertice. Even more improbably, Rita Marques’ first fizz from the region is a Grüner Veltliner. And I loved it!
The traditional method sparkling 100% Grüner Veltliner comes from a 10 year old vineyard on a small, elevated granite plateau at 600m in the parish of Freixo de Numão, the Douro Superior. The base wine was barrel-fermented in used French oak, where it was aged for eight months with bâtonnage. Following the second fermentation in bottle it was aged for a further 30 months and disgorged in October 2015.
Conceito Brut Nature 2012 (Vinho de Mesa)
It’s a powerful expression of the Douro (though, given the variety, it is classified as a table wine). Very well structured with the mineral, vegetal (fennel) and fruit (lemon and white peach) characters I often find in the region’s white wines. So recognisably Douro if not necessarily Grüner Veltliner, though it certainly has the broad-shouldered weightiness I associate with great examples of this Austrian variety and, when I look at my descriptors, they tick some Grüner boxes. The oak is quite present ( I wondered if this wine was originally ear-marked for a still wine), but it gives this fizz great backbone and complexity (plus the wine has the body of fruit to carry it). The acidity and bead are lively, very persistent. If the oak is the chassis, they are the engine and, together, they power the fruit to a long, lemony finish with lemon verbena lift. A characteristically bold wine from Rita Marques. Bold with lots of finesse. Very good. 13% abv, 7,5 g/l TA, pH 2.95, residual sugar 0.8 g/l. Just 2, 000 bottles were made.