There’s probably not another wine shop in the world that’s gone on record saying Arya Stark is a riesling, the Allman Brothers are a vintage 2019 Vin de France and that a Cancer is most likely to enjoy a juicy beaujolais.
But that’s what Pairings Portland owner Jeff Weissler has been doing for almost nine years on the corner of Northeast 24th and Glisan.
Pairings’ approach is divergent to the detached ironic chic of highbrow wine. Instead of austere white walls and Monstera plants, the shop’s walls are brightly colored, there’s a 3-foot metal chicken that serves as a mascot, and you’ll definitely get an answer to what wine works best for a viewing of The Princess Bride.
“A lot of fine wine people don’t take us seriously,” Weissler says. “They think this is a silly thing. But it’s a way to bring natural and quirky wine to people in a way that’s fun and approachable.”
The approach may not be to everyone’s palate, but if you’re a serious drinker of natural and organic wines, the pairings themselves should be. Weissler has three criteria for the wines he sells: They’re organic, have no added yeast and are not made by corporations. You’ll see local darlings like Day Wines on the shelf beside French gamays and a chablis that won’t break the bank.
The idea of the pairings, Weissler says, is to break down anything you want to pair to its adjectives. For a recent flight pairing wines to classic rock bands, the “country, bad boy, boozy and flirtatious” Rolling Stones went with a raw rustic 2019 Domaine de Brin Vendemia Gaillac.
As the world reopens from the pandemic, Pairings is doing one new themed flight a week, and bottles are available to go and for delivery. You can also pop in anytime and ask for a zodiac-based gift pack for your favorite Leo or Libra.
“We have a nerdy side,” Weissler says, “but don’t let the nerdy side let you think that we carry anything except really freaking killer wine.”