Every year, members of Bonhomme’s culinary and beverage teams travel to Spain and Portugal to visit old friends and discover new farms, vineyards and winemakers, striving to bring back that magical ‘sense of place’ to Chicago.
“We want to take our guests on a journey through the Iberian Peninsula and the Islands of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, sharing our own experiences and the tales of the passionate winemakers that we have befriended on our travels throughout these beautiful areas,” says Alonso.
For over a decade, we have spent time with some of the world’s most talented and visionary winemakers, in their vineyards and seated at their tables, getting priceless perspective, heartfelt anecdotes and access to rare vintages, all privileged gifts we are proud to share with our guests.
Inside Porto’s leather-bound wine book those treasures are distinctly organized. One of the best ways to experience them is through the six different tasting flights, which provide an opportunity to explore these unique Iberian Peninsula wines via expertly curated groupings. Three rare white wines from Portugal are featured next to related varietals from Spain with a similar scenario with reds. Small production wines are offered in a flight format too. A winemaker battle tasting pits top producers from each country against each other. Although in this contest everyone’s a winner. In addition, a rotating flight of featured winemakers allows our staff the opportunity to geek out on some of their favorites and share their first-hand knowledge and insight with guests. Tasting flights offer six wine pours and 10 for the grand tasting.
At the heart of Porto’s wine program is a focus on natural wines that comes, well, naturally. “Porto is honored to showcase winemakers who are descendants of a farming tradition that reclaims the history of their lands to produce wine from their own vineyards, as their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did so before them with respect for their heritage and the environment,” explains Alonso. While natural and organic wines may be trendy right now that’s been business as usual for years at a number of vineyards in Portugal and Galicia, many of which are well represented on Porto’s wine list.
Additional sections feature Porto’s more than 70 selections of limited-production wines, which change frequently. The extensive selection of sherries, ports and madeiras, the largest in the city, has earned a prominent spot in the book too. Of course, there’s a wine-by-the-glass section with some 25 on offer, as well as pages dedicated to the 300 or so bottles, organized alphabetically by wine regions, offering one of the more definitive collections of Spanish and Portuguese wines in the United States.
An edited list of cocktails includes Spanish Gintonics, Porto tónicos and aperitifs, all topped with Vichy Catalán water. Also on the beverage list is Queimada – a fiery large format drink prepared in a Sargadelos ceramic pot with aguardiente de orujo (pomace brandy), sugar, house blend of fruits and spices, finished with a little magic.