ONE GOOD REASON to read about wine is to discover great deals—after all, we wine critics are the ones who venture out into the wild and kiss all the ugly toads so that our readers can stock their shelves with the charming princes.
Right now, local wine lovers looking for such hidden royalty should take advantage of two trends: One is the “declassification” of high-quality Willamette Valley pinot noir into bargain-priced, special-labeled, limited-production wines that are easily found in Portland, because area winemakers experienced larger-than-usual harvests and are forced to find new ways to clear out their warehouses. The other is the stable pricing of Portuguese ports, which have been supported for decades by the pro-wine policies of the government of Portugal and the European Union. Kick off the new year with these three bargains. —Condé Cox