Winemaker Rita Ferreira Marquès is one of Portugal's young generation of winemakers who, having trained as far afield as South Africa and New Zealand, came back to the Douro in 2005 to take over her parents' vines.
Around an hour's drive from Pinhão in the Upper Douro, the vineyards are on the schist soils of the Vila Nova de Foz Côa, not far from Vesuvio, where the temperature can be eight degrees centigrade hotter though only 8km away. She says of the Douro 'Many... "terroirs" are still unknown. It is our mission to help define and shape them, adding an elegance and freshness of our own to the authenticity of the region.' UK wine writer Sarah Ahmed commented in 2009: 'I came across this up-and-coming producer this year and I'm really excited by their wines… Winemaker Rita Ferreira is a protégée of legendary Dirk Niepoort and it shows in characterful, finesseful wines.'
Rita's grandfather and mother used to sell their grapes to the port houses, especially Taylor's in this area, but the focus now is more on Douro red and white wines. Conceitos tinto and branco are field blends of a dozen to fifteen grape varieties. There is very little of the teinturier grape sousão planted in this area, which Rita thinks shows a certain rusticity and does not age well. The increasingly rare bastardo is bottled as a single-varietal red. Contraste is made to be enjoyed earlier than the Conceito red. It is a blend of mostly tourigas franca and nacional with tinta roriz and a little tinta amarela, part matured in older oak barrels.