Fortified Position

Drink sherry the whole meal through

We've long bemoaned sherry's place on after-dinner drink menus.

The drier styles of sherry (Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado) are actually best suited to savory foods, pairing exceptionally well with big-flavored Mediterranean dishes.

Which happen to be The Purple Pig's specialty. And wine director Joe Fiely recently bolstered his wine list with almost 20 sherries by the glass, making it the city's unrivaled destination for Southern Spain's famous fortified wine.

Though they still live on the dessert section of the list–except for the as-of-now unlisted Fino, which you'll have to request–the sherries can accompany a meal from start to finish.

Begin with a glass of refreshing, straw-colored Alvear Fino ($8), the driest and lightest sherry, ideal as an aperitif or paired with its traditional plate mates: cured meats and nuts.

Next comes fuller-bodied, amber-hued Amontillado (try the Lustau; $10), an aged, oxidized Fino with nutty, caramely notes that complement meaty dishes, like milk-braised pork shoulder ($9). Match a glass of off-dry Oloroso, like the Dios Baco ($9), with cheese or a dish of Serrano ham with a duck egg and grilled bread ($9).

For dessert: Sip an 83-year-aged Pedro Ximenez ($10) on its own, or–for sweet freaks–paired with the creamy Festa de Santa Lucia Crema, a farro-ricotta-chocolate dessert ($6) reminiscent of rice pudding.

The Purple Pig, 500 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-464-1744 or thepurplepigchicago.com