What you don’t know can’t hurt you.
Vera, the anticipated wine bar from husband-wife team Mark and Elizabeth Mendez (Carnivale), opens tomorrow in the West Loop.
Regionally inspired Spanish small plates and a cheese bar serve gustatory delights; the 100-plus wine list highlights a variety of traditional Spanish sherries. We had to ask: What is sherry, anyway?
Elizabeth set us straight — and suggested pairings, too.
Light, dry finos are like aperitifs. Go for a traditional pairing (Serrano, Iberico) or take Mendez’s more contemporary approach with a seafood starter (cured white anchovies, garlic shrimp).
The nutty, medium-bodied variety’s slightly darker style makes saffron sparkle. Sip it with rabbit and duck chorizo paella for extra pop.
Comparable to full-bodied reds, olorosos have the highest alcohol content and range from dry to mildly sweet. The bold drink enhances richer menu items like suckling pig with duck confit and spicy greens.
While most sherries come from Palomino grapes, sweeter varieties claim Pedro Ximénez as producer and king. Sip the sweet dessert sherry at the cheese bar, where you’ll find sampler plates adorned with quince paste, Marcona almonds, and seasonal fruit.
Vera Chicago, 1023 West Lake Street, at Carpenter Street (312-243-9770).