The SOMM Journal

April / May 2016

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78 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2016 LIZ MENDEZ, OWNER OF VERA RESTAURANT IN CHICAGO, MATCHES SHERRY (AND MORE) WITH JAPANESE CUISINE by Laura Levy Shatkin / photos by Jacob Hand AFTER YEARS IN THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS, Liz Mendez, along with her husband Mark, opened Vera, their own cozy and quaint wine bar and restaurant in the West Loop of Chicago. The Spanish-influenced cuisine that Mark "tweaks to go with the wine," she says, make her wine list shine, with many options from Portugal and Spain, including Sherry. Mendez opted to bring a range of Sherry wines, along with several still wines, to this pairing. "The premise behind this tasting today is to first show where Sherry fits into a pairing and also to show a comparable wine alongside it that we could drink in the same instance," Mendez says. "Sherry has an element of umami, which is why I love it with Japanese cuisine," she adds. Mendez was recently honored with Chicago's Top Sommelier Award at the 2016 Jean Banchet Awards. Our tasting was held at Coast Sushi Bar in Chicago's Wicker Park. The BYO policy along with some of the freshest sushi in town brings crowds in regularly. Laura Levy Shatkin isn't shy when it comes to asking a wine buyer out to dinner . . . as long as the buyer brings the wine and she gets to choose the venue! Liz Mendez: "The point of any food and wine pairing is to bring the dish together." Sushi and Sherry . . . and Beyond Liz Mendez (left), owner of Vera restaurant in Chicago, with Laura Levy Shatkin.

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