Maria Gomes is actually the regional name for the grape Fernão Pires – a variety famed in Bairrada, Portugal, for its spicy aromatics, floral notes and exotic tangerine-like fruit. In the expert hands of Luis Pato, it also displays crisp green apple, zesty lemon and a moreish quality that’s screaming out for sunshine, friends, barbeques, crunchy salads and grilled fish. Maybe even an old black and white film like To Have and Have Not?
The moustachioed Luis Pato is a legend in Portuguese wine. A maverick and a rebel who has experimented his way to the top and is now regarded as one of Portugal’s finest winemaker, but also the man that put Bairrada on the map. His family had been making wine at Quinta do Ribeirinho since the 18th Century. When Bairrada was recognised as demarcated winemaking region by Portuguese law, his father João Pato bottled his wine and became the first winegrower in the region. Luis – a former chemical engineer – inherited this pioneering streak and appears to have passed it on to his daughter Filipa too. Always pushing the boundaries, Luis Pato’s wines are some of the most exciting to come out of Portugal in any vintage.