Fernao Pires (also known as Maria Gomes) is an aromatic white grape variety extensively grown throughout Portugal. Blended wines are far more common than varietal expressions of Fernao Pires in Portugal, despite the fact that it is the most commonly planted white wine variety in the country. The greatest concentrations of Fernao Pires vineyards are in Bairrada, Lisboa and, in particular, Ribatejo, where only a small percentage of the grapes find their way into DOC wine.
Wine can be produced from Fernao Pires in a number of styles. Dry white wine is the most common, but sparkling and sweet versions are also possible. Zest of lemon, lime and orange are common aroma descriptors, sometimes with a hint of spice. Other examples can show more honey and mineral flavors, especially as they age.
In the hot climates of central and southern Portugal, Fernao Pires can provide generous yields and often needs to be controlled to prevent over-cropping. The vine is susceptible to frost and is not suitable to cooler areas. A little has been planted in South Africa and Australia.
The wine can response well to ageing in old oak barrels and may cellar for up to five years in exceptional cases.
Synonyms include: Maria Gomes.
Popular blends include: Portuguese White Blend.
Food matches include:
Europe: Rosemary and lemon pork stew
Australasia/Oceania: Barbecued chicken with lemon and pepper