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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 de Macard, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 8-17-2011
This is an example of the screaming bargains that the 2009 vintage in Bordeaux is going to offer up in spades. A jammy nose of cherry pie, potting soil and warm fig lead to a surprisingly fresh middle palate with earthy flavors of crunchy mixed berries, tart cherries and spice. Although this smells like a fruit bomb it has well defined structure and persistance with a lingering finish. Compare this to any $10.00 bottle in the world.
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.
1998 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 7-7-2011
This is a deal in classic, aged Bordeaux for anyone with a "old world" palate. Firm and completely dry with flavors of dark cherry, oak and spice, this is just beginning to show mature hints of cedar and leather. This cabernet based wine still shows the structure of the vintage so decanting is recommended.
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.
2003 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 7-21-2010
This affordable gem is from the warm and approachable 2003 Bordeaux and is already delicious. Sweet, lively and round with no hard edges, this is great with hearty foods or more sophisticated fare. From the much hyped "California" vintage in Bordeaux.
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 Marquis de Calon, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 8-6-2009
The 3rd Growth Calon Segur made one of my favorite St-Estephes in '05 and the second wine shows similar quality at a fraction of the price. This is clean and sweet with very bright fruit and mineral all in a long, firm package. Lots of breed shows here and there is a touch earth to complimentr the elegant structure and fine finish. This has just as much finesse as Calon Segur but without all the powerful tannins, and has the ability to elevate a good meal to greatness.
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
2005 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux
Review Date: 3-11-2009
Barrel tasting the 2005 vintage in Bordeaux two years ago, this was an absolute standout in an ocean of outstanding wines. Re-tasting it the other day confirmed that it has explosive aromas of crushed flowers, blackberry fruit, mocha and violets. The body is thick and powerful, yet elegant, with deep, ripe, dark fruit, tobacco and powerful yet very ripe tannin. Truly an aristocratic wine.
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