Here's what I've been tasting lately, roughly in order of preference:
--Dow’s 20-year-old Tawny Porto, Portugal, $60. Hazelnut aromas. Apricots, almonds, caramel and toffee in the mouth. Long, persistent finish. Very good plus.
--Chateau Lafleur-Gazin 2014 Pomerol, Bordeaux, France, $47. Blackberry and brambles on the nose. Blackberry, cherry, plum and smoke on the palate. Nicely structured and balanced. Very good.
--Rombauer Vineyards 2018 Zinfandel, Ca., $35. Blackberry and smoky aromas and flavors. Plum, black cherry, tobacco, licorice, spice and vanilla on the palate. A well-balanced, enjoyable zin that doesn’t give away its 15.9% alcohol. Very good.
--Cakebread Cellars 2019 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $40. A great example of Napa chard, made with French oak (70% neutral), sur lie. Apple aromas, with a bit of peach. More apple with some pear and lemon on the palate. Moderate oak, good acidity, touch of minerality, nice finish. Very good.
--Escudo Rojo 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Maipo Valley, Chile, $18. Blackberry on the nose. Blackberry, black cherry, plum and licorice on the palate. Smooth, full-bodied, dry, with silky, fine tannins. Good plus.
--Escudo Rojo 2018 Gran Reserva Red Blend, Central Valley, Chile, $22. A Bordeaux-style blend of 44% cabernet sauvignon, 39% carmenere, 11% syrah, 4% petit verdot and 2% cabernet franc. Earthy, herbal aromas. Blackberry, blackcurrant, licorice and tobacco on the palate. Full-bodied, good structure, lingering finish. Good plus.
--Yalumba Samuel’s Collection 2018 Barossa Bush Vine Grenache, Australia, $21. A light to medium dry and juicy red with plenty of pepper, cherries and raspberries. A good match for pork. Good plus.
--Yamhill Valley 2018 Pinot Blanc, McMinnville, Ore., $25. Pear and mineral aromas and flavors, with a hint of figs in a rich, smooth and full-bodied dry white. Good plus.
--Sweet Cheeks 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Ore., $27. A zesty sauvignon blanc with a nice mix of lime and tropical fruit, and a lingering finish. Good plus.
--Stoller 2018 Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Ore., $35. Cherry and pencil on the nose. Light-medium body with nearly tart cherry-raspberry flavors, touch of earth, plenty of acidity and lingering finish. Good plus.
--Cakebread Cellars 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, Ca., $30. Herbal aromas. Herbs, citrus and flint on the palate, with a slightly bitter finish. Good.
--CK Mondavi 2019 Pinot Grigio, Ca., $7. Tropical and apple/pear aromas. Apple, lemon and peach, along with floral notes, on the palate. Fruity but with a dry finish. Crisp with balanced acidity. Good.
--Concha Y Toro Frontera After Dark 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Valley, Chile, $7. Smooth and easy-drinking. Cherry, herbs and tea on the medium body. Good for the price.