PORTLAND’S STATUS as America’s brewing mecca thrives on the craft suds that flow freely from local taps—so it’s only logical that the next local wine evolution is also a level pour away. Indeed, these days in Portland, it’s not uncommon to enjoy wine directly from a beer keg—vessels refilled by local wineries showcasing their latest vintages. What ends up in diners’ glasses is free of markups due to bottling costs, and unaffected by the oxidation that so often afflicts bottles overexposed to air while lingering open on a bar shelf. One early adopter is the Bent Brick in Northwest Portland, which for its glass pours relies exclusively on an impressive lineup of 16 kegged wines, while distinguished wines are increasingly infiltrating the taps at restaurants like St. Jack, Grüner, Oven & Shaker, Irving Street Kitchen, 3 Doors Down, and Metrovino. Here are some recent finds.
The Bent Brick
2009 Árdíri Pinot Noir ($10) Scents of berries blend with the char of oak in this velvety, high-quality pinot. Pair with lamb.
Oven & Shaker
2010 Walter Scott Pinot Noir ($12) A genuine Oregon pinot with velvet textures, ripe berry flavors, and a multilayered complex floral scent. Pair with a pizza topped with taleggio cheese.
2010 Crowley Pinot Noir ($12) Floral scents and raspberry flavors. Pair with a mushroom and asparagus tarte.
Irving Street Kitchen
2009 Tyrus Evan Cabernet Franc ($14) Made by Ken Wright, one of the best winemakers in Oregon, this wine has flavors reminiscent of plum and the scent of spring grasses. Pair with culotte steak and potatoes.