Who picked these wines? Prior to working at SE Portland bottle shop Ardor Natural Wines, self-described “Dadaist Sommelier” Phaedra Brucato directed wine and beverages at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island.
Cutter Cascadia 2018 Heavy Water Riesling, Columbia Valley This is a new release for Cutter; a bone-dry Riesling that sees two weeks of skin contact. The result is a rich, layered olfactory experience: a delicate crown of wildflowers and dangerously ripe peach. On the palate, it plays like textured minerality arm-wrestling with powerful acidity. Buy Bar Norman, Dame, $36
Statera 2016 Johan Vineyard Chardonnay, Willamette Valley Like two sides of a perfectly balanced scale, this chardonnay evokes harmony. White flowers, tart orchard fruits, and a coy white limestone smile—think Venus de Milo if she still had arms. Buy Ardor Natural Wines, $37
Analemma 2017 Mosier Hills Tinto, Columbia Gorge This blend of three brazen grape varietals (tempranillo, grenache, Syrah) still maintains self-awareness and restraint. It’s desert herbs and brambly berries drying on a soft angora blanket of tannins. Buy E&R (late October), $35
A.D. Beckham 2018 50/50 Pinot Gris/Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley A bright, grinning Cheshire Cat that gives a delightful fruity/earthy love tap before you’ve blinked once and realized the whole bottle disappeared. Who drank it, you or the cat? Bonus: it’s aged in clay amphora handmade by the winemaker. Buy E&R, $35
Buona Notte 2018 Vermouth, Columbia Valley A well-made vermouth needs no adornments. This Buona Notte, made with a rosé of pinot gris and flavored with six different botanicals, drinks like strolling through an exotic spice market under a full moon. Plus, a whisper of sweetness from Mount Hood honey. Buy Baldwin’s Bottle Shop, $30 (750 mL)