It’s not necessary to make a day trip to the Willamette Valley in order to visit top-quality wineries. Several worthwhile outfits have facilities within Portland’s city limits, and many of them have tasting rooms open to the public. We tried three on our recent visit and made some surprising discoveries. Fine Oregon wine goes far beyond Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris nowadays.
“Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk” provided a disco beat as we entered this garage-like space, most of which is occupied with winemaking equipment. But there is room enough for a small, attractive tasting room, where the personable Derek, one of four full-time employees at Teutonic, poured some of the most fascinating wines we tried in Portland. Owner and winemaker Barnaby Tuttle trained in the Moselle Valley, a fact made plain when we tasted his fragrant and focused 2016 Crow Valley Vineyard Riesling. I also quite liked the fruity and exotically spicy Gewürztraminer, the ethereal Alsea Blanc (a blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier) and the perfumed Traubenwerkzeug Pinot Noir. Tuttle has earned the respect of his former teachers in Germany — Teutonic is currently hosting an intern from the Moselle Valley.
Teutonic Wine Company
3303 SE 20th Avenue. Tel. (503) 235-5053
Owners Thomas Monroe and Kate Norris use this collective not only to house their winery, Division Winemaking Company, but also to provide a sort of incubator for up-and-coming wineries that don’t yet have a home of their own. In its bright wine bar-restaurant, we sampled a Founders’ Flight of Division wines and a Collective Club Flight of other wines made on-site. The tropical and spicy 51 Weeks Lonesome Springs Cuvée Marsanne-Viognier blend was delightful, as were the dark and peppery Welsh Family Wines Blaufränkisch and the ripe and vivacious Division Pinot Noir “Un.” But the star was Division’s 2015 Chardonnay “Deux” Stangeland Vineyard. It felt Burgundian in quality, with gorgeous fruit, a touch of butter, a hint of wood and refined acids keeping everything in perfect balance. What a joy.
Southeast Wine Collective
2425 SE 35th Place. Tel. (503) 208-2061
This winery has the largest tasting room space of the three and an enjoyable industrial-chic atmosphere. Perhaps that’s why three hotels’ concierges put it at the top of their urban-winery lists. We had fun at ENSO, but I found the wines less compelling than at either Teutonic or Southeast Wine Collective. My favorites were the ENSO Sparkling White, a blend of Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon that had gently prickly bubbles and juicy acids, and the brisk and savory Rosé of Mourvèdre. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, or if you have a larger group of people, by all means make a stop, but the two wineries above deserve priority.
1416 SE Stark Street. Tel. (503) 683-3676