Category: Liz Mendez

Liz Mendez Sommelier at Vera Chicago

Taste Portuguese Wines with Liz Mendez of Vera Chicago


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:

2012 Alvaro Castro, Encruzado, Dao Region Portugal

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.

2011 Symington Pombal do Vesuvio,  Douro Valley,  Touriga Franca and Touriga National

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.

Please Listen to Past Episodes and Subscribe

You can check out the past few episodes but if you SUBSCRIBE , you’ll receive each new episode right to your device, whichever one you listen to your podcasts on.  Share episodes across social media channels, as well, to let others discover our wine conversations. A few of the most recent include:

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Catch you next time!

Liz Mendez Sommelier at Vera Chicago

Liz Mendez of Vera, Chicago Takes Top Chicago Somm Title at Jean Banchet Awards


Listen to the engaging Liz Mendez share her excitement about her 2016 Jean Banchet Award Top Sommelier award and her love for all things Iberian Peninsula. Portuguese still wines are top of mind for Mendez, along with Sherry and Rhône Valley wines. Hear how she and partner/husband Mark Mendez made their way along the Chicago restaurant scene to open their own quaint and inviting Vera. They caught the wave of the West Loop expansion five years ago when they lead the way in the neighborhood.

In case you missed passed episodes, here they are at your fingertips!

Charles Ford, The Bristol Chicago on Wine Inspiration and Teamwork

The Kitchen Chicago’s Shea Zimmerman Talks Sustainable Wine, Keggers and more

Spiaggia’s Top Somm Rachael Lowe Shares Interactive Pairing & Italian Wine Picks

Formento’s Chicago Sommelier Steve Morgan’s Journey from NYC to Alinea to Open This Popular Neighborhood Italian

Joy Sterling, Le dame Extraordinaire, on Sparkling Wine at her Family’s Iron Horse Vineyards

Wine Director Ryan Arnold, Lettuce Entertain You, Tells of Wine Inspiration

Andrew Mariani of Sonoma’s Scribe Winery Talks Wine, Friends and Community

Belinda Chang on Bending the Steakhouse Paradigm

Sommelier Lauren Helm’s Journey to Harvest Table by Charlie Palmer

Tune in for great interviews with Sommeliers, Wine Makers, Wine Directors and Top Chefs- SommTalks is your weekly podcast for the inside scoop on the restaurant and wine scene. Please subscribe here, on iTunes or on TuneIn Radio or on Stitcher.