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Staff Favorites - Steve Bearden
Steve Bearden | Send Email | Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
I’m the Bordeaux liason for the San Francisco store, starting my run there around 2000. Over the years I've gained a great respect for subtlety, finesse, elegance and terroir, or a sense of place, that I believe all great wine should have. I enjoy practically anything and everything but mostly French and Italian with heavy emphasis on Rhône and Bordeaux. Be adventurous. There is tremendous diversity in regions, varieties and styles, so don’t let your palate get pigeon-holed.
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2009 Nairac, Sauternes
Review Date: 7-14-2014
This sensational wine combines aromas and flavors of clover honey, saffron, pineapple, orange spice tea and sweet scented wildflowers. Full-bodied without being unctuous, an oily sleekness holds the mid-palate and a mineral/acid tension glides along the long finish. This really over-delivers for the price.
Masia Can Mayol Loxarel "999" Cava Brut Rosat Penedes
Review Date: 7-5-2014
This is a bone dry and serious bottle of bubbly offered at a ridiculous price. With its sophisticated bead, laser like red fruit flavors of cherry and berry and steely finish, this would be right at home with the classiest of fare. Try this with surf & turf or sushi and don't be embarrassed by the price.
2013 Les Vignerons de Fontès "Prieuré Saint-Hippolyte" Languedoc Rosé
Review Date: 5-1-2014
This is just a tad fresher and cleaner than last year's version, but still retains the juicy and roly poly cascade of fruit you expect from this easy-drinking bargain. The warm days of summer are on their way, and for good reason this is one of our best selling pink wines year after year--so stock up.
2012 Kirkham Peak Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Review Date: 4-16-2014
This is a bargain from an appellation known for richer, fuller Pinot Noir, but at prices substantially higher than you see here. Bold and smooth with an array of red fruit flavors and a touch of tannin on the finish, this would stand up to hearty food and even summer BBQ. Although drinking well now, short term ageing should do wonders for this delicious value.
2010 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 4-16-2014
Vintage after vintage I am amazed at the quality of this massive production and fairly priced wine. The 2010 bottling shows the power of the vintage in a full and chewy style, showing ripe black cherry fruit, kirsch, spice, tapenade and a hint of earth with some food friendly tannin on the finish. For those of you who missed the fantastic 2010 Southern Rhones, here is last call.
1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 3-20-2014
The Delon family of Leoville-Las-Cases fame has made great strides with Chateau Nenin in Pomerol and this second wine has become a consistant over achiever. This is elegant, clean, classy and sweet, offering an iron tinged mineral edge to the fine finish. Drinking perfectly right now, this offers the sophistication of the first wine at a fraction of the cost.
1991 Palmer, Margaux (1.5L)
Review Date: 3-19-2014
At a recent staff dinner this was silky smooth and simply stunning. The plush and velvety texture retains plenty of acidity for freshness and there is nothing awkward, angular or tannic, just creamy, dusty cherry fruit, earthy woodsy scents and a long satin textured body. There are aromas of ceder and leather present but there is nothing at all drying about the elegant finish. This is pure cashmere in a bottle.
2012 Sharp Zombie Rioja
Review Date: 2-20-2014
This starts out with flowery aromas of ripe black cherry fruit, oak shadings, spice, a hint of vanilla and a touch of earth. Medium-weight and smooth, this lithe and agile wine has a creamy finish and an easy charm making it perfect for the table or cocktail parties. This versatile and food-friendly value might just become your new favorite bargain Rioja.
2009 Tronquoy-Lalande, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 2-20-2014
This lush, warm and gentle wine will surprise anyone expecting classic St-Estephe firmness. Smooth, sweet, ripe chocolate cherry Merlot flavors fan out across the satin textured mid-palate before the faintest hint of fine, gentle tannins carry the long finish. Almost opulent and very easy to drink.
2012 Bedrock Wine Company "Old Vine" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 2-5-2014
Here is a serious Zin with a deep brambly nose of huckelberry, oak and spice and a ripe, jammy core of sweet red and black fruit. Baked black cherries, cola and freshly picked raspberries are plush and layered throughout the deep, chewy middle which melds in to a smooth, rich, lingering finish. This is bold, substantial and very well made.
Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé
Review Date: 9-4-2012
This is long and fine with red cherry fruit and a persistant limestone laced finish. There is an amazing amount of elegance and restraint showing here for only 13 bucks.
Franck Bonville Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 7-7-2011
When it comes to Champagne this is probably our all time staff favorite. The fact that it is a direct import and sells for less than half what it would if it went through the same distribution system as the big name brands doesn't hurt either. Fresh and ripe Chardonnay flavors, intense mineral notes and hints of earth leap from this vibrant and full-textured bubbly.
2007 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 3-31-2011
At a recent staff tasting in the San Francisco store this wine from the much maligned '07 vintage was fantastic. Not only did it show better than Langoas from much more hyped vintages, but it beat out several highly rated vintages of its big brother Leoville Barton. This is velvety,soft and earthy with very sweet fruit and a mineral edge right down the middle. Decant this and try it tonight.
Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-29-2009
Chardonnay from Brouillet makes a richer, creamier style of Blanc de Blanc than other areas of Champagne. This is an easy to like style that is perfect for less formal occasions like New Year's eve toasts and quiet sipping during parties. This generous, rich bubbly is an amazing deal to direct buy pricing.
2005 Haut-Brisson La Reserve, St-Emilion
Review Date: 7-15-2009
This voluptuous 2005 has explosive aromas of fruit, flowers, damp earth and toast that are complex and alluring. Deep purple and velvety textured with an array of black fruit flavors that seamlessly fan out, ending with velvety tannins and a super-long finish. Although not "old school" by any stretch, this is toasty, rich, absolutely stunning and way too easy to like.
Drink from 2009 to 2019
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