Wine Picks

The 50 Oregon Wines You Need to Drink Right Now

Eight local wine experts give their top bottle picks for every activity, from stormwatching to drinking while you cook.

By Benjamin Tepler September 13, 2017 Published in the October 2017 issue of Portland Monthly

Top picks and where to find them from some of the city’s best sommeliers, critics, and buyers. Your next great bottle is just a corkscrew away.

The 50 Best Oregon Wines for...

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the Eyrie vineyards
2014 Original Vines Pinot Gris
Dundee Hills
$36 at Liner & Elsen
“If autumn as a season could be compressed into a candy, Willy Wonka style, this is what it would taste it like.” Brent Braun

Bow & Arrow 
2015 Rhinestones Pinot Noir/Gamay Noir
Willamette Valley
$22 at Vinopolis
“The perfect match for turkey and cranberries: this is the ideal wine to fight your siblings over for the last sip.” Jessica Hereth 

2015 Gamay
Willamette Valley 
$27 at Park Avenue Fine Wines
“Gamay is incredibly versatile on the Thanksgiving table. Mix up the usual Beaujolais recommendation with a homegrown version of the juicy, vibrant grape.” Stacey Gibson 

2013 Pinot Noir
Dundee Hills
$44 at Thelonious Wines
“Joe Pedicini started Montebruno in 2003 and the wines have been quiet superstars. Savory, high-toned, and no sulfur added. Perfect for turkey!” Dana Frank 

James Rahn
2016 Rainsong Vineyard Pinot Meunier
Willamette Valley
$34 at 45th Parallel Wines
“Tart and lip-smacking, with notes of white pepper. Pinot meunier is one of the three grapes used in Champagne and is closely related to pinot noir.” Katherine Cole

...Pad Thai

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Love & Squalor
2014 Sunnyside Vineyard Riesling
Willamette Valley
$48 at Avalon Wine Inc
“ACID! And not the ‘I woke up after a rave’ kind—the lean, mouthwatering, steely, brace-yourself kind. There is a bit of weight and power behind it to balance the austerity.” Kurt Heilemann

Weinbau Paetra
2015 S Riesling  
Eola-Amity Hills
$23 at E&R Wine Shop
“This wine is stunning in its purity and focus, with just enough sweetness to give it some texture. It’s the perfect thing to neutralize the heat while lighting up the fragrance of all the aromatic herbs in the cuisine.” Ksandek Podbielski

Teutonic Wine Company
2016 Crow Valley Vineyard Gewürztraminer
Willamette Valley 
$23 at Great Wine Buys
“Lychee and white peach tea become a white wine and put on a merry performance for classic Pad Thai renditions.” JH

Cooper Mountain Vineyards
2015 Old Vines Pinot Gris
Willamette Valley  
$15 at New Seasons Market
“This is one of the best pinot gris I’ve had in Oregon. It has enough depth, viscosity, and aromatics to hold up to your favorite pad Thai.” Jeff Vejr

Golden Cluster
2015 Coury Savagnin Rose
Willamette Valley
$46 at Park Avenue Fine Wines
“Yeasty, dry, minerally, and light, this is the only bottling of the savagnin rose grape in the United States.” KC

...The “big something-0”

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2005 Extended Tirage Brut Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay
Willamette Valley
$75 at Wizer’s Fine Wines
“The Extended Tirage wines from Argyle are the benchmark sparkling wines from our state.  Don’t wait, drink this one—it has already been cellared for you.” JV

Evening Land
2014 Summum Seven Springs Estate Chardonnay
Eola-Amity Hills
$102 at Wizer’s Fine Wines
“The chardonnay equivalent to driving a Lamborghini.” KP

2012 Blanc de Noirs Sparkling
Columbia Gorge
$64 at Division Wines
“The best sparkling wine in America is made right in our backyard.” BB

The Eyrie
2013 Original Vines Pinot Noir
Dundee Hills
$80 at Park Avenue Fine Wines
“From the vines in the Dundee Hills that started it all in 1965. Open it now and enjoy its heartbreaking complexity, or wait a few decades until your next big milestone.” SG

2000 Ladd Hill Pinot Noir
Chehalem Mountains
$46 at Wizer’s Fine Wines
“Celebrate yourself with this treasured library rarity that is as youthful in its expression as you are. Notes of cherry dusted mushrooms and wooden villas.” JH

...The pinot noir rookie

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2015 Perspective Pinot Noir
Ribbon Ridge
$26 at Vinopolis
“Across the board there is a dark fruit quality that wraps around mild tannins. One of those wines that everyone likes regardless of their preferred style.” KH

2014 Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
$19 at Liner & Elsen
“Like a soft warm hug to your mouth, this cherry- and clove-noted pinot noir will make you fall head over heels for the Mighty King Grape of Oregon” JH

2014 Cumberland Reserve Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
$38 at Liner & Elsen
“Bergstrom’s style has become more restrained over the last couple of years, and their entry-level Cumberland presses all the buttons a new pinot noir drinker needs pressed.” BB

Johan Vineyards
2014 Estate Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
$30 at 45th Parallel Wines
“Biodynamic fruit from a gorgeous, meticulously farmed vineyard. A great intro to Oregon pinot!” DF

Stoller Family Estate 
2015 Pinot Noir
Dundee Hills
$26 at New Seasons Market
“I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like Stoller’s appealing Pinot. It’s velvety, with plenty of red fruit.” KC

...The pinot PhD

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Lingua Franca
2015 Joshua, Junichi & Siri Pinot Noir
Ribbon Ridge
$56 at Wizer’s Fine Wines
“Taut and dense with a finesse that mimics the best of what can be done in Burgundy, but from Oregon terroir.” JH

Walter Scott
2015 Sojourner Vineyards Pinot Noir
Eola-Amity Hills
$50 at Avalon Wine Inc
“Walter Scott owners Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon are making some of the most compelling pinot noir and chardonnay in Oregon. Full stop.” SG

Bow & Arrow
2015 Hughes Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
$36 at Avalon Wine Inc
“A totally singular expression of Oregon pinot. Irresistibly chuggable while still being absolutely grown up.” BB

Kelley Fox Wines
2015 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir
Dundee Hills
$65 at E&R Wine Shop
“Kelley makes the most electric, ethereal, and sensitive pinot noirs. Her wines taste like you are drinking a symphony played on a gramophone.” JV

Trathen Hall
2013 Antiquum Vineyard Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
$42 at Oregon Wines on Broadway
“An ultra-small-production, difficult-to-find wine from a couple of pros. Spicy and satisfying, alluring floral notes—it appeals on every level.” KC

...Cooking (and drinking while you cook)

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J. Christopher
2015 Cristo Misto Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay
Willamette Valley 
$14 at New Seasons Market
“Affordable, with enough acidity for use in a butter-garlic sauce.” BB

2014 Wind Ridge Block Riesling
Ribbon Ridge
$25 at
“Bright and acid-driven with just enough oomph to bring it all together. Wait a second, the bottle is empty! I guess we need another bottle to ‘cook’ with.” KH

2016 Big Salt Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and Muscat
$17 at Division Wines
“Liquid sunshine pours from the sky into your mouth while sitting on a salted guava rainbow. Feel the wave?” JH

Day Wines
2016 Vin de Days Blanc
Willamette Valley 
$21 at Park Avenue Fine Wines
“This Alsace-inspired crew of grapes comes together nicely with the floral, intense Muscat sometimes having the loudest voice. Sip, pour into the pot, and repeat.” SG

Division Villages
2016 L’Isle Verte Chenin Blanc
Yakima Valley
$22 at Market of Choice
“Refreshing and lively, with notes of grapefruit and orange blossom. Stir some into the risotto between sips.” KC

...A storm-watching getaway for two

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Antica Terra
2014 Antikythera Pinot Noir
Eola-Amity Hills
$150 at Park Avenue Fine Wines
“Blackberries, dark cherries, and rich black earth. This is the wine drinking equivalent to being 15 years old and listening to Led Zeppelin’s II for the first time. Let the thunderclouds roll over you!” KP

Jackalope wine cellars
2015 Cabernet Franc
Applegate Valley
$26 at Liner & Elsen
“Dusty, pencil lead, graphite, cassis. It’s got just enough fruit to make it super enjoyable without food. Sip while you watch nature unleash her fury.” BB

Mellen Meyer
NV Brut Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
$35 at Avalon Wine Inc
“Because nothing spells romance like thunderclaps and champagne. Notes of brioche and spring strawberries, this dry and crisp style will keep you coming back for more.” JH

Johan Vineyards
2013 Estate Blaufränkisch
Willamette Valley
$36 at Pairings Portland
“Deeper and darker than pinot noir with a smoky, sanguine character that makes it perfect for a night in by the fire.” SG

Fausse Piste
2014 Garde Manger Syrah
Columbia Valley
$21 at New Seasons Market
“Gorgeous, brambly berry fruits, a touch of smoke and great acidity. And [made by] one of the nicest guys in the biz, to boot.” DF

...Converting chardonnay haters

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2014 Reseve Chardonnay
Dundee Hill
$38 at Park Avenue Fine Wines
“I have been left speechless by Cameron chardonnay on more than one occasion. No tropical fruit oak bombs here; just pure class.” SG

2014 Four Winds Chardonnay
Willamette Valley
$44 at Wizer’s Fine Wines
“No other Oregon chardonnay drinks with as much uncaged energy. But it’s not unfocused—it’s more a seasoned greyhound than a corgi puppy.” BB

Jacob Martin
2015 Chardonnay
Willamette Valley
$21 at Sec Wines
“Granny Smith apple and lemon dreams race around the tongue and slide down seamlessly, leaving no trace of butterscotch vanilla.” JH

Arterberry Maresh
2014 Maresh Vineyard Chardonnay
Dundee Hills
$67 at Liner & Elsen
“Hello, Burgundy. Made entirely from the original 1983 block, this wine is a reminder that clones are not always the answer, but place is.” JV

Morgen Long
2015 Chardonnay
Willamette Valley
$33 at Mt Tabor Fine Wines
“The basic bottling from chard fanatic Seth Morgen Long, this wine is crisp, bright, and smooth.” KC

...Venturing outside of the Willamette Valley

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2015 Marsanne Roussanne
Applegate Valley
$37 at Division Wines
“Biodynamic. Dry. Lime, papaya, chamomile, honey and hazelnuts. White wine that knows how to throw its weight around like a prizefighter.” KP

2015 Ramato
Columbia Gorge
$75 from
This quasi-pink wine has all the brightness and liveliness imaginable, with enough structure to hold up to heavier dishes.” KH

2015 Off the Grid Riesling
Rogue Valley
$25 at Avalon Wine Inc
“Cedar Ranch Vineyard lives just a few miles from the California border. This is a crisp, dry, Riesling with incredible mouthfeel.” JV

Leah JØrgensen Cellars
2015 Cabernet Franc
Southern Oregon
$28 at Park Avenue Fine Wines
“While Oregon often gets compared to Burgundy, many are making a case for Loire varieties. Jørgensen’s cabernet franc expresses this thesis well: dried flowers, cinnamon, ripe brambly fruit.” (Read more on Jørgensen here.) SG 

Quady North
2015 Steelhead Run Vineyard Viognier
Southern Oregon
$22 at Portland Bottleshop
“From a vineyard on the banks of the Applegate River. Viognier fanatic Herb Quady utilizes acacia barrels to make an immensely appealing wine.” KC

...Discovering Oregon’s young rule breakers

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eisold smith
2014 Syrah
Milton-Freewater, Applegate Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
$30 at
“Willamette Valley Syrah is often a bit skinny and mean; Eastern Oregon, fat and ugly. Combine the two with some Southern grapes, and the dream of Syrah is alive (and delicious) in Oregon.” BB

Holden Wine Company
2014 Sauvignon Blanc
Columbia River Gorge
$26 at E&R Wine Shop
“Not your typical New Zealand sauvignon swill, this skin-contact white wine will make your heart flutter with its fragrant wildflowers and pineapple kisses.” JH

2013 #15 Black Locust Syrah
Applegate Valley
$31 at Thelonious Wines
“Blackberries smothered in violets and tar. This dense wine shows both power and grace, made by one of the most important winemakers in our state.” JV

2014 Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley
$25 at Park Avenue Fine Wines
“Violin’s Will Hamilton has extensive experience and the benefit of making his wines at Walter Scott with his friend and mentor Ken Pahlow. This beautiful, elegant pinot shows he’s off to a good start.” SG

Statera Cellars
2015 Belle Pente Vineyard Chardonnay
$35 at Frank Wine and Flower
“Statera’s single-minded focus on single-vineyard chardonnay verges on fanaticism. This is a label to watch.” KC


Brent Braun is the wine director at Castagna. He is a devout gulper of German Riesling and dry sherry. He spends his free time photographing his pet rabbit and fantasizing about a vacation to Pig Beach.

Katherine Cole is the author of four books on wine, including Rosé All Day. She is also the host and executive producer of The Four Top, a James Beard Award–winning food-and-beverage podcast presented by OPB.

Dana Frank managed the wine programs at Portland’s award-winning Ava Gene’s and at Dame, and is currently the sommelier at Holdfast. She is coauthoring her first book, Wine Food, to be published by Ten Speed Press in fall 2018.

Stacey Gibson moved to Portland in 2013 after launching her wine career at New York City’s Momofuku Má Pêche. She is the sommelier at Bardot Wine Bar in Park Avenue Fine Wines.

Kurt Heilemann spends his days and nights at Davenport attempting to get as many people as he possibly can to eat, drink, and be merry.

Jessica Hereth is the head wine honcho at Olympia Provisions, OP Wurst, and Bar Casa Vale. When not writing silly missives on the wines that give her butterflies, she can be found making wine in her urban basement winery.

Ksandek Podbielski poured wine, sorted grapes, and scrubbed tanks at harvest in the Willamette Valley for five years before shaping the wine program at Roe. In 2015 he opened Coquine with chef-partner Katy Millard. 

Jeff Vejr has been building wine lists dedicated to sustainable, biodynamic, natural, and organic wines since 2009. He is co-owner of Les Caves and a winemaker at Golden Cluster.

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