In Vino Veritas

20 Best Wines to Buy in Portland

We've got the best bottles under $25 and the top splurges, as recommended by our favorite local wine bars and bottle shops.

By Fiona McCann Published in the Fall 2021 issue of Portland Monthly

We asked eight experts at some of our favorite wine bars and bottle shops for a pick under $25 and a special-occasion splurge. Raise your glasses to Benjamin Bryant of Bar Norman, Sami Gaston of Bar Diane, Trevor Gorham of Vino Veritas, Telina RohRer of Mom and Pop Wine Shop, Mallory Smith of 1856, Wei-en Tan of Stem Wine Bar, Neil Thompson of Park Avenue Fine Wines, and Jeff Vejr of Les Caves.


1. Melaric Globules Roses, $24 “This ancestrale méthode rosé is versatile, fun, and delicious, with just the right amount of minerality, tart fruit, citrus notes, and herby green tones,” says Gaston. 

2. Twill Cellars Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2019, $23.99 An organic wine that’s savory with “loads of umami and mocha,” says Thompson, “all enveloped in fresh wild blueberry and cherry flavors.”

3. Domaine Zafeirakis Limniona Rosé, $21 This Greek rosé has Vejr “obsessed”: “Pair this with a fresh squash and ricotta salad with pumpkin seeds.”

4. Helmut Gangl Zweigelt Reserve 2013, $24 “A fantastic example of the great wines out of Austria, from the dark fruits and its classic spicy character to the earthiness that comes from the eight years of age,” says Gorham.

5. Frenzy NZ Sauvignon Blanc 2020, $23 “This wine pairs exquisitely with salads, pesto pasta, Thai food, and grilled fish,” says Tan. “In our opinion, Frenzy is a great example of a New World wine that just might rival its Old World origin.” 


McKinlay Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2019, $20 “At $20, Willamette Valley wines are usually blended bulk wine from any number of sources. This is all-estate wine deeply connected to its people and place,” says Rohrer.

Domaine du Cros Lo Sang del Pais Marcillac, $19 “Think barnyard or horse stable,” says Smith of the “poopiness” of this wine from “middle-of-nowhere France.” The fruit is dark and subdued, and there’s a minerally note that makes it one of the staff’s personal favorites. 

6. Hiruzta Txakoli Parcela No. 3, $55 Don’t be fooled, says Smith: Though txakolis from the Basque Country are typically known for being bright, fun, and fizzy, this one is the exact opposite. “A serious, non-bubbly, age-worthy txakoli, this has structure and strength that can rival a high-class white Burgundy.”

7. 2015 Champagne Huré Frères 4V Extra Brut, $112 “There is something remarkably exquisite about this cuvée,” says Gaston. “It represents that sensation when you go to the best dinner party, and the next thing you know the sun is coming up.”

8. 00 Wines Pinot Noir Shea Vineyards 2018, $95 “[It] fills your glass with soft red fruits, earth, and rose,” says Gorham.

9. 2019 Hopewell Pinot Noir, $75 “Honest and unabashed, yet delicate and nuanced,” says Bryant, “a wine that not only draws you into itself but also the passionate story behind how it came to be.”

10. Champagne Françoise Bedel Dis, Vin Secret Extra Brut, $72 “Ripe citrus and orchard fruits, followed by bursts of red fruit in the finish,” says Rohrer. “Finishes completely dry, but with a big textural presence on the palate.”


José Michel Cuvée de Père Houdart, $130 This “truly extraordinary” Champagne comprises wines from 1971, 1975, 1976, 1982, and 1985, with the base wine from 2012. “[It is] literally a time capsule,” says Vejr.

Domaine Jérôme Galeyrand La Justice 2016, $120 This Burgundy is “a collectible or something that can be drunk with game, heartier stews,” says Tan, with aromas of orange blossom-tinged red fruit, subtle tannins, and hints of oak.

Clau de Nell Cuvée Violette Anjou (Cab Sauv/Cab Franc) 2016, $65 “The peppery notes of the cab franc pair extremely well with anything from roasted meats to flavorful fish,” says Tan, “while the cabernet sauvignon helps to intensify the flavors and ensure a long finish.”

Oddero Barolo 2017, $57 A vintage that will drink well now or in decades, says Thompson, this wine boasts “bristling acidity, aromas of tart cherry and crushed rose and violet petals, and a lashing of potpourri-like cinnamon stick, tree bark/quinine, and a touch of leather and licorice.”

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