Casually elegant but not the least bit stuffy, Muselet (named for the wire cage atop a bottle of bubbly) specializes in grower Champagnes—sparkling wines that come right from the families who own the vineyards—as well as local and Old World bottles perfectly matched to its French-accented, farm-driven plates. Plus: friendly, top-notch service. Yes, you should take a date here, stat.
DRINK A stunning rosé from a Willamette Valley standby, Maysara Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé bubbles with berry fruit and pairs brilliantly with Muselet’s oyster plate. museletpdx.com
Sleek, chic, and seductive, this new West End spot from two Multnomah Whiskey Library alums is a destination for clever cocktails and a seriously geeky wine list. With its 100-plus roster of classic and sought-after Euro and West Coast bottles (including natural and experimental labels), Shift rightly bills itself a “professional drinking establishment.”
DRINK Staffers call it “Drinking Tobacco,” but Priorat Vermut Natur is really just brown vermouth. The Spanish aperitif is grown-up dessert: all honeyed herbs, spices, and bitter green tobacco leaves. shiftdrinkspdx.com
At the edge of the Hawthorne Bridge sits a wine bar that’s as relaxed as a living room, dog included (owner Maggie Shippy’s border collie mix, Bedford). Choose from a staggering array of pours by the glass, or from the list of bottles hailing from nearly every great wine region—Dundee Hills to Slovenia. And when either fireplace is burning, order the DIY s’mores.
DRINK A Washington red built on obscure Eastern European grapes, Kiona Vineyards Lemberger has become a cult classic thanks to its charge of dark chocolate and cherries with dusty tannins. carmellaswines.com
Hi-Wheel Wine & Mead
This sprightly, no-nonsense neighborhood taproom serves up beer, mead, and its own fermented “fizzy wines,” which ditch grapes for citrus, from grapefruit to limes. Soak it all in and enjoy a flight of whatever’s on tap while lounging on the quiet garden patio. And be sure to order a stone vat of guacamole from Tamale Boy next door.
DRINK Hi-Wheel’s Lavender Lemon wine is crisp and clean, lightly carbonated, and heavily refreshing—slightly tart with just the right amount of infused herbs. hiwheelwines.com
Wine & Growl
This bustling Southwest restaurant, growler station, and bottle shop is a strip mall gem sandwiched in between a fro-yo café and an insurance agency. One constant on the globetrotting menu is food that pairs well with the 25 stellar Northwest wines, beers, and ciders on tap. Bonus: a huge, carefully chosen bottle list marked at thrifty prices ($10 corkage fee to drink on the premises).
DRINK Domaine Chiroulet Terres Blanches 2013: at $14 a bottle, this tropical-tasting French white blend nails it, especially alongside Growl’s tuna tartare. wineandgrowl.com