Loving Those Portuguese Still Wines with Liz Mendez of Vera
We know our Port but do we all give the still wines of Portugal enough attention? Listen in as Liz Mendez of Vera Restaurant in Chicago picks a few of her favs. Mendez is best known for her encyclopedic knowledge of Sherry, and she discussed this with me in my past Date with a Somm article in Somm Journal. Now, she goes into her second love of Portuguese wines, many of which are on her acclaimed wine list.
Now, tune in for her Portuguese wine suggestions below:
Mendez likens this to a Chardonnay, reminding her of Chablis and even a California Chardonnay with it’s body and weight. She feels that’s the connection for a consumer to make, to try this new wine.
Flavors range from lemon meringue pie due to richness of lees aging, plus a hint of sweetness rounds off the robust weight, This Encruzado also has a nice pop of acidity. Mendez feels this could please both the Sauvignon Blanc fan as well as the classic Chardonnay fan. She could see pairing this with crab, olives or a starter of Manchego cheese.
Mendez considers this Douro Valley the “heart of Bordeaux” in Portugal. The aromas remind her of Bordeaux wines that are ready to drink, even while this is made of two indigenous grapes for the Douro region rather than those Bordeaux varietals. The structure is what reminds her distinctly of French wine even while this wine is a bit fresher tasting and approachable. It’s an extremely food friendly wine served at Vera, and she especially likes it with the classic dish Fabada, a white bean stew with pork and chorizo.
Portugal has found its way into Mendez’s heart and she adores promoting these wines at the restaurant.
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